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 12: Political careers and territorial politics

Klaus Stolz


This chapter takes a fresh look at both sides of the complex interrelationship between territorial politics and political careers. In a first step, the territorial dimension of political careers is mapped out. In contrast to the rather simplistic unidirectional career ladder model, current opportunity structures for professional politicians endorse multiple movements within and across various territorial levels of government. Recent empirical career studies thus reveal a multitude of regional and national career patterns. In a second step, the career perspective is introduced into the study of territorial politics. Individual political careers and collective career patterns can influence and condition the conduct of institutional and territorial politics via experience, anticipation and coordination. Regionally weighted opportunity structures facilitate the emergence of a regional political class, which can develop the capacity to influence these very structures according to its own collective self-interest. The chapter shows how much theoretical effort is still needed to advance analytical frameworks and conceptual tools that adequately delineate the complex interrelations between careers and territory.

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