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At its core, the contemporary international system is based on the existence of and interaction between a set of territorially demarcated states (Agnew 1994). Within each of these territorially bounded spaces, the state – as a collection of centralised political institutions – is sovereign. This sovereignty within this internationally agreed geographic division is presumed to be mutually exclusive (Taylor 1995). Whilst the exclusivity of state territoriality has been increasingly challenged (see below), there can be little doubting that it remains a focal point within the operation of the contemporary international system. The desire of the state to sustain and maintain its territorial pre-eminence within its bounded space requires it to develop and implement territorial strategies that enable, enforce and/or legitimise its territoriality. This is suggestive that the primary objective of these territorial strategies is to enable territoriality through enhancing the welfare of its citizens via growth, improved security, socio-economic development, territorial cohesion, etc. (Taylor 1994). This emphasises – in the absence of coercion of its citizens – the link between territoriality and the legitimacy of the state as a territorial agent. Integral to this link is the process of infrastructuring. This is defined as the act of creating and maintaining a territorial infrastructure system where infrastructure is commonly defined as ‘built networks that enable flows over space’ (Larkin 2013, p.329), offering services that, at their core, are central to territorial functioning and to the operation of the agents within that space (Finger et al. 2005).
Wil Hout and M. A.M. Salih
The Trans-national Strategy and Policy Interface
Colin Turner and Debra Johnson
Infrastructuring is core to understanding state territoriality. It is the provision of the physical structures that are central to understanding the control that states seek to assert over their territory. This infrastructuring strategy is contextualised in terms of a defined infrastructural mandate which identifies the multi-functional role that infrastructure plays in state territoriality. The infrastructural mandate stresses that states seek a National Infrastructure System to perform a number of functions, namely to offer territorial integration, security, control and growth.