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Bernard Debarbieux

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Bernard Debarbieux

In 1851, settlers chasing apparently hostile Native Americans entered a valley of the Sierra Nevada, California; they called it Yo Semite. They were overwhelmed by this yawning valley riven by glaciers, with a peaceful river at the bottom running between woods and meadows and surrounded by immense walls of granite and cascading waterfalls. They hurried to chronicle it and many newspapers across the country ran it. The site’s renown grew in several years.

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Bernard Debarbieux

Between the publication of Utopia and Leviathan, England lived through the reigns of the Tudor and then the Stuart dynasties. Historians see in the reign of the last Tudor, Elizabeth I (1558–1603) the first apogee of the English State and the emergence of an archetypal model of the modern state. This is just one way of qualifying this rise. To be precise, some other features characterize this period: the rapid growth in the British population; the first sign of the agricultural revolution and the first overseas forays; the victory against the Spanish Armada and the beginning of the British reign over the oceans, etc.

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Bernard Debarbieux

A “psychedelic nightmare” is how A. Terry Rambo (1997, p. 8), a Vietnam scholar, considers the job of the cartographer who has to represent the localization of the "hundreds of different cultural groups peppered in the landscape" of North Vietnam's heights. This cartographer chooses to represent "a multi-hued kaleidoscope of tiny dots and splotches" to account for the many entwined population. Even so, such a map only tells an imperfect story of the reality because heterogeneity prevails down to the scale of the villages' populations.

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Bernard Debarbieux

The works devoted to the “realms of memory” (Nora, [1984–92] 1996–98), conceived and written by a team coordinated by Pierre Nora, address all sorts of things, and in particular books, events and sites, through which a certain idea of France, the French Republic and nation, has been constructed.

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Bernard Debarbieux

The Marco Polo Festival second edition took place on 12 October 2010 in Chinatown and Little Italy in downtown Manhattan, New York. A stage had been set up at the crossroads of Mott and Grand Streets, so I was able to observe Chinese opera singers, a band playing Italian songs, local clubs representatives, a rather dramatic interpretation of the United States national anthem by an Australian singer, a dance of the dragon and many other things too. The event was a concentrate of more or less stereotypical emblems and symbols, referring to China and to Italy first, but also to the United States, to Italian-Americans and Chinese-Americans, all enveloped in this friendly atmosphere that typifies the many ongoing city street manifestations.

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Bernard Debarbieux

Nature, especially from one case study to another, is one of the common threads of this book. In truth, it is not nature as such, not even nature as a general category of knowledge that interests us here, but nature as a category of practice and action. In this sense, it is the forms of spatiality by which it is thought and acted upon that interest us and their status within various social imaginaries to which this category contributes. At this point, the question is now: what are the social collectives that emerge at the time of a globalized and post-national world and that become institutionalized by a reference to nature in one or another of the configurations under which we can grasp it?

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Bernard Debarbieux

What are the differences between a makeshift football game in a vacant lot in a Soweto township and a Champions League football match in the Vélodrome stadium in Marseilles?

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Bernard Debarbieux

The nature of the state changed with modernity. In the Middle Ages, it was conceived on a relational system of allegiances and on an order that could be called “theological–moral” (Schmitt, [1950] 2006). The state’s hold on space was subordinated to this system and this order. Between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the form of the modern state came into view unfolding its raison d’être in space itself, rooting itself progressively in the earth, attentive to carving out borders, thinking itself through the mastery of an area, resources and populations. The modern state and the state territory emerged and stabilized at the same time with both forms being dependent on each other.

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Bernard Debarbieux

Over several centuries and with many adjustments to various contexts, the spread of the modern state model has led to a progressive creation of a territorial puzzle in Europe and then the rest of the world. Political cartography has accounted for and made possible this division into colour-coded areas and shared symbols. While these territories are all different as to their material constitution or institutional characteristics, because they can all be connected to the same type of state territoriality, they are in a way equivalent.