Governance of mobility :contested territoriality political vacuum and state rescaling

This paper will argue that governance of mobility is the most challenging, and yet the most important task a political authority is to undertake if it is to exist. Territoriality, as a set of spatially constituted political control strategies (over a given population as well as the resources located on a piece of land), is there to ensure that mobilities remain under the control of a given political authority. Yet, this control is a fragile one and is to be reproduced on a continuous basis. There are also non-spatial/sectoral measures developed/implemented to complement the territorial strategies. The challenges to the governance of mobility are manyfold. They are rooted in two factors that constantly generate mobility and mobile subjects (such as inmigrants, immigrants, and refugees): a) the dynamics of capitalism, which constantly reshape the geographies upon which contemporary political authories commit themselves to run, at an increasing speed and intensity in the midst of globalisation and neoliberalism; b) the (global/regional) disputes/conflicts that unsettle the imagined and/or actually existing communities upon which these authorities establish themselves in discursive and geographical terms (including but not restricted to religious/ethnic rifts of domestic/global nature and the struggle among various global/regional powers to control the territories these authorities previously controlled). In those regards, governance of mobility is about reducing the political vacuum generated by the above factors to a minimum. State rescaling, in that regard, is a critical battlefield for both the authorities and for their contenders. Their target is to fill in that political vacuum to their own advantage. Yet, the fight between the authority and the contender(s) could well create a policy vacuum by destroying both’s problem solving capacity, which would otherwise ensure the well-being and the survival of the subjects (real humans) over whom they fight to determine their future. The arguments put forward will be developed with reference to two recent and burning political issues hitting Turkey: the recent round of Kurdish uprising and the Syrian conflict (and the refugee crisis).


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Citation Formats
M. K. Bayırbağ, “Governance of mobility :contested territoriality political vacuum and state rescaling,” presented at the City Debates 2016, (2 - 04 Mart 2016), Beirut, Lebanon, 2016, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: