This research project furthers our understanding of an often ignored but important and central part of modern politics; the dynamic relationship between territory and state. The republic of Syria, carved out of a much larger territory during the post World War I re-mapping of the Middle East, constitutes the empirical focus. The study analyzes Syrian policies towards three territories lost; Lebanon, Hatay and the Golan Heights. Through the examination of Syrian policies towards the three areas from the time of their loss until the end of 2010, the study argues that while special relations to these three cases are signaled through words or deeds or both, Syria clearly has different views of and ambitions for them. Although Syria, during the period under study, repeatedly disrespected the sovereignty of Lebanon it does not strive to incorporate it into Syria. The same goes for Hatay, despite the fact that Syrian maps depict it as part of Syria. The Golan Heights, on the other hand, is considered a necessary part of the Syrian national territory and therefore has to be returned to Syria. The study seeks to understand why certain territories lost remain on the agenda as something that has to be returned while the loss of others are possible to come to terms with. For this purpose, a theoretical and methodological framework for analyzing change and consistency in a state's perception of territories lost is developed. Further, five explanatory factors are discussed and applied to the Syrian cases. Of the five, only integrative state building and the existence of a contending élite with the ability to formulate an alternative version of an appropriate and right-sized national territory were concluded to have affected policies towards territories lost in the Syrian case. The project ended in May 2011.
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This project explores the future of the territorial nation state. The aim is to contribute to a better understanding of state-citizen relations in a world where political participation assumes new and transnational shapes and in which demos becomes more difficult to delineate. The relation between the political institutions of the state and the citizens is a research area which is at the core of modern political science. The interaction between state and citizens is usually assumed to take place within the borders of the state. However, due to the development of information technology, new political arenas have emerged which transgress the confinement of state territory. Even when people leave their country of origin and take up residence somewhere else, they often continue to be politically active in domestic politics, from beyond the border. Most research has studied the strategies of migrants/diasporas while the sender-state, has attracted little attention. The theoretical aim of this project is to develop a model which includes activities that the sender-state can use in order to include the emigrants. The overall aim is to explore whether the territorial nation-state weakens because of globalization or whether it can globalize its domestic policies and become a transnational actor in its own right.
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