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 19: Regions beyond the state: external relations and paradiplomacy

Michaël Tatham


As a result of decentralisation, many regions have gained a directly elected form of political representation and have broadened the scope of their policy competences. The domestic empowerment of regions has spilled over state boundaries. Regions in federal systems have a tradition of ‘trans-sovereign contacts’ in a world of ‘perforated sovereignties’. In this sense, subnational units have long played a role in the international relations of federal countries. However, beyond merely federal states, regions have also become increasingly active across state borders in regionalised and decentralised states. The foreign relations of regions have hence stimulated research on ‘paradiplomacy’, understood as the diplomatic activities of regions conducted in parallel to those of their embedding state. This chapter discusses the rise of regional paradiplomacy. With a focus on the European continent, it outlines how regional actorness has developed over time and across levels of government, from the subnational to the supranational level. It then highlights three primary determinants of regional paradiplomacy and two secondary factors. These help us understand why regions mobilise supranationally, but also how this mobilisation unfolds.

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