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 21: Territorial politics and economic development

John Agnew and Agostino Mantegna


A robust literature showing the connections between territorial politics and economic development has built up over the past decades. This literature stresses the social construction of territories and the productive systems that correspond to them. The chapter focuses on four major strands of research. The first makes a case for the overall connection between politics, governance and economic development both in macro and micro settings. The second focuses on the important mediating role performed by local politicians in linking together political centers and their peripheries. The third is that which posits a strong direct connection between place-specific political histories and economic development. Finally, globalization and the spread of supranational institutions have reoriented the geographic framing of territorial politics and its relationship to economic development. The chapter argues that studying economic development today requires careful attention to the emerging multi-scale politics.

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