Making up a region: the rise and fall of the ‘South East of England’ as a political territory

Cochrane, Allan (2012). Making up a region: the rise and fall of the ‘South East of England’ as a political territory. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 30(1) pp. 95–108.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1068/c1149r

Abstract

Despite a growing academic scepticism about the significance of territory as a driver of politics, it remains a stubborn presence in the practice of politics. In the context of the wider UK devolution agenda the first decade of this century saw the emergence of an English regionalist project, based around a series of regional institutions and governance networks. In other words, it appeared that a new framework for subnational territorial politics was being constructed. With the help of a case study of the South East of England, I explore the fragility of the project in practice but also note the continuing importance of territory as a focus of politics, highlighting the importance of recognising that territory is not to be taken as something given, somehow preexisting and waiting to be filled with politics, but rather as something that is actively formed and shaped through the political process.

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