Territorial nationalism in spatial rivalries: An institutionalist account of the Argentine-Chilean rivalry

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The rivalry concept explored in the conflict literature during the past decade offers considerable potential for theory building in international relations. This paper explores one possible avenue to this end by applying insights from historical institutionalism to a case of spatial rivalry in order to explain many of the findings from the quantitative literature. As I demonstrate in this paper, the focus on issues is a good start at explaining rivalry, yet it masks important underlying domestic processes that initiate, maintain, and terminate rivalries. I explain how the issue of territory came to be fused with national identity in the case of Argentina-Chile resulting in a history of conflict and classification as an enduring rivalry. I draw on this case to argue that territorial nationalism may explain why seemingly disparate territorial conflicts separated by time and space can be considered linked to form a spatial rivalry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-431
Number of pages33
JournalInternational Interactions
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001
Externally publishedYes



  • Contiguity
  • Enduring rivalry
  • Historical institutionalism
  • Spatial rivalry
  • Territorial nationalism
  • Territory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

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