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Calzada & Hennig (2015) 'Regions between Recentralisation & Independence' in Political Insight Journal

Dr Calzada has been working in a collaborative publication with Dr Hennig in the crossroads between political devolution processes seen from the social innovation perspective and the way they can be visualised with data. This collaboration’s outcome is the article published in the Political Insight journal by March 2015. In this article, the authors aims to depict the re-scaling process of the nation-states due to the emergent dynamism provoked by regions. The article portraits by using data visualisation, some cases that are being studied under the project ‘Benchmarking Future City-Regions’. To cite here is the full reference: Hennig, B. D. & Calzada, I. (2015), In Focus: Regions between Recentralisation and Independence. Political Insight. Volume 6, Issue 1, pages 20-21. April 2015. DOI: 10.1111/2041-9066.12083. [Article published online: 19th March 2015] Online ISSN: 2041-9066.
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Published in: Government & Nonprofit      

Transcripts - Calzada & Hennig (2015) 'Regions between Recentralisation & Independence' in Political Insight Journal

  • 1. 20 POLITICAL INSIGHT • APRIL 2015 In Focus Regions between Recentralisation and Independence 2 014 will be remembered as the year in which two nation-states faced the debate around the relationship between regions and the centre within their borders in very different ways. The United Kingdom witnessed a closely fought pro-union outcome in a referendum on Scottish independence. In Catalonia, despite a consultation process showing a huge majority declare their desire for independence, the Spanish government refused to countenance a vote on Catalan secession. The balance of power between the region and its nation state is changing. The City- Regions project (www.cityregions.org) looks at this process in terms of the tendency for either recentralisation or independence in the contexts of eight selected regions, primarily in Europe. Each of these‘city-regions’are defined either as distinctive regions within their respective nation-states or as areas crossing national borders that link sufficiently strongly to constitute a region. The eight regions are: Liverpool & Manchester (UK), Scotland (UK), Catalonia (Spain), the Basque Country (Spain/France), Oresund (Denmark/ Sweden), Iceland, Dublin (Ireland) and Portland (Oregon State, USA). The selected regions represent different geographical entities of different population and economic characters. On the map, the varying sizes of circles represent the total population for each region. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of each region is shown in the accompanying chart. Benjamin Hennig and Igor Calzada look at the rapidly changing balance of power between states and their regions. The regional order may be characterised in terms of either‘politically-nationalistic’ strategies, which are fuelled by community- based national identity, or‘economically-non- nationalistic’strategies, which are motivated by competitiveness-based economic factors. Investigating the population and GDP contributions of the case-study regions to their nation-states helps to explain the source of these political tensions. All of these city regions require a relative equivalence between their population and their GDP contribution to the nation- state to provoke a tension, and thereby a negotiation, that can lead either towards recentralisation or independence. An increase in the GDP and population contributions made by a region to its nation-state, sparks a flurry of consequences involving tensions around political and economic sovereignty, whether in favour of or in opposition to recentralisation or devolution/independence. Dublin, Portland and Iceland have all been driven by a recentralisation principle, while Oresund and Liverpool/Manchester seem more likely to evolve gradually to become more concerned with devolution. Scotland, Catalonia and the Basque Country, however, already exhibit a continuous tension that is clearly tilted towards greater devolution or, indeed, even independence. Further reading: Calzada, I. (2015), PostIndependence, TransLoKal – Academic Entrepreneurship for Policy Making – Publishing, Donostia. Of central importance is that each region is its own dynamic and emergent networked geo-political unit. It is this factor that is essentially transforming the nature of established nation-states. The dynamics involved occur through social innovation processes, which are building a new regional order. This order may be driven by a diverse range of political or economic factors, but these can also emphasise tensions in the relationship between nation-states and these regions, stemming from trends towards either greater recentralisation or greater devolution, with independence as an ultimate outcome. (The table illustrates the theoretical framework of these processes in the different case study areas.)

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