Law of Geography and the Geography of Law: A Post-Colonial Mapping


This Article examines the relationship between law and geography through the prisms of colonialism and neoliberal Empire. Using two novels set in nineteenth and twenty-first century India, respectively, it evaluates the so-called first law of geography, namely that "everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things." It argues that the formative and enduring relationship between global systems of domination and modern law has created a geolegal space that has a global dimension. This geolegal space creates norms and subjectivities that are intimately related to spatially distant forces and projects. Emergence and consolidation of capitalism created a global geo-economic space where law and geography were brought together, creating an intimate relationship between the global and the local. Accumulation by dispossession, an enduring feature of capitalism, renders this global relationship one of domination and exploitation. While colonial and post-colonial phases of global capitalism deployed different regimes of political and economic governance, they function within the same grammar of modern law that facilitates domination and exploitation in the service of capital accumulation by dispossession.


Globalization -- Legal Aspects, Geography -- Law, Colonialism, Capitalism -- Accumulation by Dispossession, Capitalism -- Global, Sea of poppies [novel], Amitav Ghosh, The White Tiger [novel], Adiga



Tayyab Mahmud (Seattle University)



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