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By Wouter de Been, Payal Arora, Mireille Hildebrandt (eds.)

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The gradual institutional tightening of the national state’s exclusive authority over its territory takes off particularly after World War I – even though the national project is much older. So does the elaboration of national level categories for analysis, research techniques and 17 18 Communication, Law and Politics data sets in the social sciences. This process of nationalizing instruments for analysis and categories for interpretation extends to a broad range of domains. But today’s globalization and digitization are inserting whole new realities into our familiar schemata.

Other actors – from NGOs and First-Nation peoples to immigrants and refugees who become subjects of adjudication in human rights decisions – are increasingly emerging as subjects of international law and actors in international relations. That is to say, these non-state actors can gain visibility as individuals and as collectivities, and come out of the invisibility of aggregate membership in a nation state exclusively represented by the sovereign. This complex imbrication of the digital and the non-digital brings with it a destabilizing of older hierarchies of scale and often entails dramatic re-scalings, both of which in turn destabilize the meaning of conventional borders.

We might then say that the forestry site is actually constituted through several space economies, and at a minimum by two: logging and specialized corporate services. But it is likely to be part of a third space economy, that of global financial markets. 4 The insertion in global financial markets is to be distinguished, in this case, from the financing of the actual work of logging. It has, rather, to do with the capabilities of global finance to liquefy even the most immobile material good, for instance real estate, so that it may circulate as a profit-making financial instrument in the global capital market, in addition to the profit-making potential of the material good itself.

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