Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Caruso, Raul

Ed. by Bove, Vincenzo / Kibris, Arzu / Sekeris, Petros

4 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.54

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.304
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.540

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 20, Issue 3


Volume 17 (2011)

Volume 4 (1996)

Volume 3 (1995)

Volume 2 (1994)

Volume 1 (1993)

Divide and Conquer: The Impact of “Political” Maps on International Relations

Steve Pickering
Published Online: 2014-06-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/peps-2014-0012


For researchers and students of International Relations (IR), one date looms larger than all others: 1648. The end of the Thirty Years War, formalized by the signing of the Treaties of Osnabrück and Münster, led to a period known as the “Peace of Westphalia.” Westphalia represented a fundamental change in the power balance of European politics: instead of the Holy Roman Empire holding supreme authority, power would now rest with states themselves, manifested in terms of sovereignty, territory and equality. One of the chief ways in which these “Westphalian” states would cement this authority was through the use of maps. Before 1648, there was little on a European map to indicate where one country ended and another one began. But after 1648, this all changes: these new Westphalian states are represented with bright colors and clearly marked boundaries, defining borders and becoming an important part in creating the state and justifying its sovereignty. The role which maps have played in the spread of the Westphalian state is only just beginning to be researched. Yet the limited efforts to date have all focussed on Europe. This is unfortunate, as today, while Europe has, according to some observers, moved into a stage in which Westphalia is no longer a useful model with which to understand the state and the ways in which it relates to sovereignty, government, power and the individual, the old Westphalian model of the state has more recently been exported all around the world. This paper presents the first part of a project which aims to look at this expansion. The European angle will be presented in this paper; future research will be carried out in China, Japan and Taiwan.

Keywords: International Relations; maps; Westphalia


  • Aristotle, (ed.) (1966), Metaphysics (trans. Hippocrates G. Apostle), Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana.Google Scholar

  • Black, J., (1997), Maps and Politics, Reaktion Books, London.Google Scholar

  • Blake, G., (2000), State Limits in the Early Twenty-First Century: Obervations on Form and Function, Geopolitics, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 1–18.Google Scholar

  • Bolzano, B., (1950), Paradoxes of the Infinite (trans. Fr. Přihonský), Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar

  • Brentano, F., (1988), Philosophical Investigations on Space, Time and the Continuum (trans. B. Smith), Croom Helm, London.Google Scholar

  • Cooper, R., (2003), The Breaking of Nations, Atlantic Books, London.Google Scholar

  • Culcasi, K., (2006), Cartographically Constructing Kurdistan within Geopolitical and Orientalist Discourses, Political Geography, vol. 25, pp. 680–706.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Harley, J.B., (1989), Deconstructing the Map, Cartographica, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 1–20.Google Scholar

  • Krasner, S.D., (1995), Compromising Westphalia, International Security, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 115–151.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Marcus, H.G., (1994), A History of Ethiopia, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.Google Scholar

  • Monmonier, M.S., (1991), How to Lie with Maps, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar

  • Neocleous, M. (2003), Off the Map: On Violence and Cartography, European Journal of Social Theory, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 409–425.Google Scholar

  • Pickering, S., (2012), Proximity, Maps and Conflict: New Measures, New Maps and New Findings, Conflict Management and Peace Science, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 425–443.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Smith, B., (1995), On Drawing Lines on a Map, in Frank, A.U., Kuhn, W., Mark, D.M., (eds.), Spatial Information Theory. Proceedings of COSIT ‘95, Springer Verlag, Berlin, pp. 475–484.Google Scholar

  • Smith, B., (2001), Fiat Objects, Topoi, vol. 20, pp. 131–148.Google Scholar

  • Varzi, A.C., (2001), Vagueness in Geography, Philosophy in Geography, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 49–65.Google Scholar

About the article

Corresponding author: Steve Pickering, Graduate School of Law, Kobe University, Japan, E-mail: ; , www.stevepickering.net.

Published Online: 2014-06-19

Published in Print: 2014-08-01

Citation Information: Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, Volume 20, Issue 3, Pages 461–478, ISSN (Online) 1554-8597, ISSN (Print) 1079-2457, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/peps-2014-0012.

Export Citation

© 2014 by De Gruyter.Get Permission

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in