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The Territorialization of the Global Commons

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In 2021, Carlo Diehl and I published an article called „The Territorialization of the Global Commons“ in the Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen, the journal of the IR Section of the German Association for Political Science. The official version is here and an ungated version is over at ResearchGate. We compared governing regimes for five commons: the high seas, the deep seabed, the atmosphere, outer space, and the poles. Our finding was that the two „classical“ modes of governing these spaces beyond national jurisdiction – division into sovereign territory, and internationalization – had been supplanted by what we call „functional territorialization“, i.e. the creation of functional spaces in the global commons through international agreements and treaties which give individual states particular responsibilities and rights short of sovereignty in the management of these spaces. Search and Rescue Regions at sea are a prime example of this kind of functional territory.

Petra Gümplová, a political theorist at the University of Jena, kindly invited me to an online workshop in September 2022 to present our findings for an English-language audience. The workshop was great with some really interesting contributions from political scientists, geographers, and legal scholars. Three of the talks were recorded and released one by one as episodes of the „Appropriate“ podcast that the Collaborative Research Centre „Structural Change of Property“ publishes. „My“ episode already came out early January but I still wanted to share the link here: Let me know if you’d like to learn more about this particular project!

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