Conceptual Considerations of “Space” and “Region”: Political, Economic and Social Dynamics of Region-Building

  • Steffen WippelEmail author
Part of the United Nations University Series on Regionalism book series (UNSR, volume 6)


The second chapter highlights presently circulating ideas and current debates that are of relevance for the conceptual profile of the book and for a large number of contributions to it. It starts with a critique of the “methodological nationalism” and rigid regional “metageographies” that predominate in research as well as in the broader public. The article then briefly turns to the new conceptualizations of space in the course of the current transdisciplinary “spatial turn”, which help to develop a broader understanding of regions as social constructs and of processes of region-building. Subsequently, this conceptual overview discusses the role of the state in the wave of intensified globalization and points to a more nuanced understanding of concomitant processes of de- and re-territorialisation. This in particular includes the formation of larger economic blocks. Thus, among the current trans- and post-disciplinary concepts, special reference is then made to the “New Regionalism Approach” that goes far beyond conventional theories on regional integration to include a multiplicity of forms and actors. The “making of geography” based on processes “from below” is studied in another section. This includes remarks on the widely discussed emergence of “spaces of flows” as well as of “everyday regionalisations”. In contrast, the (re-)emergence of “geopolitics” – and more recently “geoeconomics” – in the political field and new critical research perspectives on them are worth a further conceptual consideration. This is followed by new ideas on border-crossing “transstate”, “transnational” and “translocal” networks, flows and spaces. Finally, this chapter considers the multiplicity and blurredness of spatial scales.


Regionalism Approach World Region Arab World Territorial State Political Geography 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO)BerlinGermany

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