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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Gordon MacLeod

MacLeod, G. & Jones, M. (2001). Renewing the geography of regions. Environment and Planning D: - Society and Space 19(6): 669-695.

Author(s) from Durham


Recent academic discourses pertaining to a 'new regionalism' in economic development and territorial representation, in parallel with the constitutional restructuring of certain nation-states, have done much to revive a widespread debate about regional change. Although cautiously welcoming this, the authors raise a concern that much contemporary reasoning has a tendency to conceal fundamental questions relating to political struggle and the contested social and cultural practices through which societies assume their regional shape. They contend that the geohistorical approach of Anssi Paasi, a distinguished proponent of the 'new regional geography', can help to unravel the culturally embedded institutionalisation of regions and thereby advance a meaningful understanding of regional change. Paasi's reconstructed geography of regions is then deployed to analyse a series of struggles to construct 'the North' as a fully institution alised territory within the political and cultural landscape of Britain. The paper concludes with some thoughts on how to practice a renewed geography of regions in the hope of sparking a more imaginative regional cultural politics.