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Social Sci LibreTexts

8.6: Key Terms Defined

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  • Boundary – an invisible, vertical plane that separates one state from another, which includes both the airspace above the line on the surface and the ground below.

    Centripetal force – a force that tends to bind a state together.

    Centrifugal force – a force that tends to break a state apart.

    Compact state – a state where the distance from the center to any border does not vary significantly; roughly circular.

    Ethnic boundary – a boundary that encompasses a particular ethnic group.

    Fragmented state – a state whose territory is not contiguous, but consists of isolated parts such as islands.

    Geometric boundary – a boundary that follows a straight line and may coincide with a line of latitude or longitude.

    Gerrymandering – the process of redrawing legislative districts in order to benefit the party in power and ensure victory in elections.

    Irredentism – an effort to expand the political influence of a state on a group of people in a neighboring state.

    Multi-national state – state that has more than one nation within their borders.

    Nation – group of people bonded by cultural attributes such as language, ethnicity and religion.

    Nation-state – state in which the territorial boundaries encompass a group of people with a shared ethnicity.

    Physical boundary – a boundary that follows a natural feature on the landscape such as a river, mountain range, or lake.

    State – a formal region in which the government has sovereignty or control of its own affairs within its territorial boundaries.

    Stateless nation – a nation that aspires to become a nation-state but does not yet have their own territory.

    Supranational organization – an alliance involving three or more states who have shared objectives that may be economic, political/military, or cultural.

    Terrorism – intimidation of a population by violence in order to further political aims.

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