Keating, Michael and Pintarits, Sylvia. (1997) "Europe and the regions: Past, present and future". In: UNSPECIFIED, Seattle, WA. (Unpublished)
Territorial politics has been a recurrent feature of the European state, although it has often been neglected in favour of state-centred analyses in the social sciences. The phenomenon of regionalism presents particular analytical difficulties, since it covers a multitude of phenomena, and regions can be defined according to many different criteria. They can be seen as purely geographical, they can be defined to economic or cultural criteria, or they can be self-identifying, based on a sentiment of common identity. Regionalism, similarly, can be seen as a cultural movement, as a way of promoting economic development, or as a demand for self-government. It may be directed at the state, in the form of demands for resources or policy concessions, or it may aim at the achievement of local autonomy. In this article, we adopt a political economy approach, focusing on the linkages between regions as economic entities on the one hand, and political mobilization and institutionalization on the other. We first trace the dynamic of state-region relations in the modern nation state, then examine the impact of European integration. It has sometimes been argued that the twin pressures of regional assertion and European integration are squeezing the nation state, leading to new political order loosely described as a ‘Europe of the Regions.’ We agree that the European context has altered the dynamics of territorial politics in important ways, but that the future development of this will depend on the extent and type of future European integration. In one scenario, regionalist pressures are likely to increase to the point of putting the nation state in peril. In another, we will see a continued three-level game among states, regions, and the European Union. In the third, we see a re-nationalization of territorial politics.
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