Spatializing the ecological Leviathan: Territorial strategies and the production of regional natures
This paper explores a dual absence — the absence of the state within contemporary geographical analyses of nature; and the absence of nature within contemporary explorations of state power. We argue that the modern state continues to play a crucial role in framing social interactions with nature, while nature is still vital to states within their realization of different forms of material and ideological power. In order to reconnect analyses of the state and nature, this paper combines work on the production of nature and state strategy with Lefebvre's recently translated writings on state space and territory. By focusing on the production of territory (or state space), we explore the interaction of the state and nature in the context of the political management of social and ecological space. We unravel the spatial entanglements of the state and nature through an analysis of the British state's territorial strategies within the West Midlands region. By considering three key historical periods within the history of the West Midlands we reveal how the emergence of the regional space called the West Midlands is a product of the ongoing spatial dialectics of state and nature therein.