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Kampf um Raum

  • Christian Abrahamsson
Publiceringsår: 2011
Språk: Engelska
Dokumenttyp: Konferensbidrag


Recently there has been an upsurge of writings within geography on life itself and the various configurations and procedures that produce and sustain life. There is, of course, an older literature within geography that has emphasized the relation between life and space. I am thinking primarily of the anthropogeography/biogeography of Friedrich Ratzel and his concept Lebensraum and its corollary notion of human existence as a Kampf um Raum [struggle for space]. This paper argues that there is a need to understand how the relation between life and space has been conceptualized in earlier geographical scholarship, particularly since much of the contemporary literature draws on work contemporaneous with and inspired by Ratzel e.g. the ethology of von Uexküll, the vitalism of Tarde and the legal philosophies of Schmitt. This paper will focus on the ways that, through the concept of Lebensraum, a geographical imagination became intertwined with, on one hand, a specific biological imagination (i.e. the evolutionary theories of Darwin and Haeckel) and, on the other, a specific political imagination (i.e. the organic state theories and geopolitics of Kjellén and Haushofer). Further I will discuss how this bio/political/geographical imagination became a key political and ideological operator in the planning policies of the Nazi-state. In this final part of the paper I will focus on the role that Lebensraum played in Hans Grimm's bestselling book Volk ohne Raum (1928) [People without space] and Himmler's Generalplan Ost.


  • Human Geography
  • Lebensraum
  • struggle for space
  • Friedrich Ratzel
  • Hans Grimm
  • people without space
  • Generalplan Ost


Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, 2011

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