The territoriality of law: An exploration

R. J. Johnston*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Laws, as conceived in this essay, comprise a set of rules enunciated and operated for the purposes of social control.' There are many such sets of rules in operation in all parts of the world, at a great range of spatial scales and in a myriad of contexts. Laws represent a special case of such rules, however, because they are enacted and operated by a particular type of institution—the state. A major feature of the state, and thus of law as against other sets of rules, is that it is, necessarily according to some, a territorial body. The ability to exercise sovereign power within territories is the hallmark of the state, and laws as its means of exercising that power are thus territorial too. The purpose of the present essay is to explore the law-state-territory nexus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-565
Number of pages18
JournalUrban Geography
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1990


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