Regional spaces, spaces of regionalism: territory, insurgent politics and the English question

Martin Russell Jones, Gordon MacLeod

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273 Citations (SciVal)


Amid the globalization of economic life and a myriad of powerful challenges to Westphalian traditions of political statehood, it is now routinely contended that regions are ‘in resurgence’. Nonetheless, much of the debate on this purported regional renaissance is bedevilled by confusion over what scholars and activists mean by regions and an analogous mystification as to why some regions are ‘successful’, ‘lagging’ or ‘different’. Our paper aims to instil some coherence to this debate by distinguishing between what we term regional spaces and spaces of regionalism. It then draws on this distinction to explore the institutionalization of England's South West region, highlighting some tensions which prevail over its economic future, its political representation, its territorial shape and cultural vernacular. In undertaking this, we demonstrate how the formation of any given regional map is reflective – and indeed constitutive – of an unevenly developing, often overlapping and superimposing mosaic of economic practices, political mobilizations, cultural performances and institutional accomplishments. This prompts us to question the currently fashionable inclination to fully jettison a scalar and/or territorial approach to the theory and practice of spatiality in favour of relational/topological/non-territorial approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-452
Number of pages20
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004


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