Recent years have witnessed a tremendous academic and political appeal to the regional scale as the key with which to rear economic and social revitalization. Learning from exemplars such as Baden Wurttemberg, certain proponents of a purported 'new regionalism' advocate that the economic and democratic deficit in less-favoured regions may be revitalized by fostering a series of interacting social, economic and institutional networks. This paper provides a discussion of some of the more sophisticated approaches heralding a regional renaissance. These are then deployed through a case study of the restructuring and rescaling of England's economic governance in the late 1990s via the establishment of Regional Development Agencies (RDAs). Focusing on the experience of the North-West region, their analysis reveals that, whilst useful as a form of contextualizing regional transformation and governance, the new regionalist approaches are unable to provide a rigorous framework through which to consider England's own peculiar regional 'resurgence'. In turn, the authors call for a serious consideration of the state as a critical animateur in both structuring and scaling economic and civic life. The paper concludes that in future research, a lack of sensitivity to situated path-dependent regional economic and political geographies may serve to reproduce the 'fantasies' inherent in some earlier (post-Fordist) 'transition models'.
|Number of pages
|Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
|Published - Sept 1999
- New regionalism
- The state