Handbook of Territorial Politics
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Handbook of Territorial Politics

Edited by Klaus Detterbeck and Eve Hepburn

The study of territorial politics has enjoyed a renaissance in the last thirty years. Scholars have questioned the state-centric assumptions upon which mainstream social science has been built, pointing to the territorial (re)distribution of power across and within states. This Handbook brings together leading scholars to demonstrate how territory has shaped institutional structures, public policies, elections, political parties, and identity across the world. Offering theoretical, comparative and empirical insights, this book provides a comprehensive overview of the impact of territory on modern political, economic and social life.
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Chapter 2: Rescaling the European state: a constructivist and political perspective

Michael Keating


Modernist social and political theory long predicted the end of territorial differentiation, within the nation-state and then beyond it. Yet territorial politics has, in many ways, become more important in recent decades. This has not produced a new and definitive spatial order but, rather, a rescaling of different economic, social and political systems above and below the state. Understanding these processes requires a constructivist view of territory, not as a fixed, topological concept, but rather as a more open-ended and sociological concept. Regions have emerged as important political spaces across Europe, but they have multiple meanings and spatial forms. The region remains a contested domain and its origins and shape cannot be explained by functional determinism but rather by competition among social and political interests and visions.

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