ARENA Tuesday Seminar: Michael Keating

Prof. Michael Keating from the University of Aberdeen will present the paper 'Contesting regions' at the ARENA Tuesday Seminar on 10 May 2016.


The region is an elusive concept in social science. It cannot be defined objectively according to physical criteria, nor derived from functional imperatives. It is better approached from a constructivist perspective, in which the region is not reified but used as a conceptual tool for understanding aspects of social reality. There are competing conceptualizations of the region, most of which are normatively charged. We can distinguish integrative regions; competitive regions; welfare regions; identity regions; and regions as systems of government. These are constituted through political competition and the balance of social forces. In turn, social and economic interests are themselves refracted at new territorial scales. In recent years, regions have been constructed beyond national space, challenging the primacy of the nation-state in defining and regulating territory.

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Please note that this paper is work in progress and thus has limited distribution, please contact us if you would like access. Do not cite without permission from the author.

Published Dec. 18, 2015 2:35 PM - Last modified Oct. 31, 2018 3:28 PM