Over her thirty-year study of the concept of territory, Jean Gottmann has seen its significance evolve in a wide variety of ways throughout the world. Factors that influence the attitude of people toward their territory involve studies of geography, politics, and economics of a region. The importance of this entity has been defined and redefined differently by all levels of society, whether in the context of political boundaries, military use, jurisdiction and ownership, or topography characteristics. At its essence, an understanding of all aspects of territory help paint a clear picture of how individuals develop a relationship between their communities and their habitats, a subject that has been little explored until now.

The elusive nature of the concept of territory is broken down here, and the term's significance reassessed. In his analysis of Western concepts and history, Gottmann closely examines the concept of territory as a psychosomatic device, and comments on how its evolution is similar to basic human striving for security, opportunity, and happiness.