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Collecting State Contents: Territory and Value in France c.1700–1850

Collecting State Contents: Territory and Value in France c.1700–1850 Abstract Around 1700, the French administration had few tools for understanding its domain. Expenses from constant war incited the regime to develop new representational means of conveying knowledge about state contents and extents across geographic distances, in order to assess available resources and productivity. This article argues that administrators formulated the state based on technologies for enumerating the land and subjects it comprised. Two documents exhibit this consolidation by collecting information: Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban’s taxation proposal, which included a comprehensive census; and a series of physical models of towns, or plan-reliefs, which amalgamated skills of builders, engineers, geographers, geologists, surveyors, and craftspeople to create material visualizations of territorial possession. Both relied on recursive processes: diffusion to gather information, collation, then returning to the field. In combination, these two artifacts demonstrate the ways in which a still-inchoate state developed spatial instruments for government according to incipient theories of political economy. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Architecture and Culture Taylor & Francis

Collecting State Contents: Territory and Value in France c.1700–1850

Architecture and Culture , Volume 9 (3): 22 – Jul 3, 2021

Collecting State Contents: Territory and Value in France c.1700–1850

Architecture and Culture , Volume 9 (3): 22 – Jul 3, 2021

Abstract

Abstract Around 1700, the French administration had few tools for understanding its domain. Expenses from constant war incited the regime to develop new representational means of conveying knowledge about state contents and extents across geographic distances, in order to assess available resources and productivity. This article argues that administrators formulated the state based on technologies for enumerating the land and subjects it comprised. Two documents exhibit this consolidation by collecting information: Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban’s taxation proposal, which included a comprehensive census; and a series of physical models of towns, or plan-reliefs, which amalgamated skills of builders, engineers, geographers, geologists, surveyors, and craftspeople to create material visualizations of territorial possession. Both relied on recursive processes: diffusion to gather information, collation, then returning to the field. In combination, these two artifacts demonstrate the ways in which a still-inchoate state developed spatial instruments for government according to incipient theories of political economy.

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References (46)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
ISSN
2050-7836
eISSN
2050-7828
DOI
10.1080/20507828.2021.1876596
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract Around 1700, the French administration had few tools for understanding its domain. Expenses from constant war incited the regime to develop new representational means of conveying knowledge about state contents and extents across geographic distances, in order to assess available resources and productivity. This article argues that administrators formulated the state based on technologies for enumerating the land and subjects it comprised. Two documents exhibit this consolidation by collecting information: Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban’s taxation proposal, which included a comprehensive census; and a series of physical models of towns, or plan-reliefs, which amalgamated skills of builders, engineers, geographers, geologists, surveyors, and craftspeople to create material visualizations of territorial possession. Both relied on recursive processes: diffusion to gather information, collation, then returning to the field. In combination, these two artifacts demonstrate the ways in which a still-inchoate state developed spatial instruments for government according to incipient theories of political economy.

Journal

Architecture and CultureTaylor & Francis

Published: Jul 3, 2021

Keywords: collecting; surveying; architectural models; taxation; territory; political economy; values

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