The Territoriality of Spatial-Economic Governance in Historical Perspective: The Case of The Netherlands

  • Arnoud Lagendijk
  • Frans Boekema
Part of the Environment & Policy book series (ENPO, volume 49)


This chapter explores how shifts in governmentality and the rise of new forms of governance in the field of regional innovation policies have impacted upon perspectives on territoriality and practices of territorialisation. The debate centres on two dominant perspectives, both endorsed by neo-liberal thinking: (1) territories as ‘containers’ for national and international state bodies to execute innovation policies ‘at a distance’, and (2) territories as spatial entities that need to be well plugged into a broader space economy. These visions come with different understanding of the role territories play as a more or less autonomous agents. Against this background, a long-term historical analysis is made of the shifts in the position of the ‘province’ in Dutch policy-making. The results show the transformation of provinces from proactive, semi-autonomous substates to regionalisedpolicy arms (container-like) of the central state. Subsequently, the analysis zooms in onto the recent impact of neoliberal trends in policy-making. While rhetorically a shift was produced towards ‘regions on their own strength’, in reality a highly convoluted territorial ‘gestalt’ has emerged, which continues to be strongly dominated by national policy practices.


Governmentality regional innovation policy regionalisation The Netherlands neoliberalisation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnoud Lagendijk
    • Frans Boekema
      • 1
    1. 1.Department of Human GeographyRadboud University of NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

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