New Regionalism Reconsidered: Globalization and the Remaking of Political Economic Space


Amid the near frenzied exaltation of economic globalization and a purported decline of the nation state, a range of subnational regional economies and urban metropoles are increasingly being canonized as the paradigmatic exemplars of wealth creation. Indeed, across many of the advanced developed countries a whole host of academics, consultants, influential commentators, politicians and bourgeois interest groups are readily invoking the region to be the appropriate site for regulating global capitalism. In a recent article in IJURR, though, John Lovering disputes this emerging New Regionalism, viewing it to be seriously compromised by several practical and theoretical inadequacies. This article has two principal aims. First, and while sympathetic to the general tenor of Lovering’s critique, it offers a rejoinder through some sobering reflections on what might be recovered from the range of New Regionalist perspectives currently vying for attention within critical studies of regional development. Second, it presents a series of future theoretical directions for a geopolitically sensitive regional research agenda, drawing on recent thinking from the new regional geography, globalization and the politics of scale, institutional‐relational state theory and the regulation approach. An argument is made that a synthesis of these perspectives might intensify our understanding of the social and political construction of regions, the uneven geography of growth, and the moments of re‐scaled regionalized state power that now enframe the process of economic governance.