Rethinking multi-level governance in a changing European union: Why metageography and territoriality matter

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Abstract

The literature on multi-level governance in Europe offers important insights into the institutional character of emerging spaces of political practice and the ways in which they are part of a politics of scale that has been unleashed in the wake of neo-liberal reform. What is less clear is the extent to which new multi-level governance arrangements are moving Europe beyond a political geography rooted in the Westphalian state system. This paper argues that a deepened understanding of the possibilities and limitations of multi-level governance requires consideration of the emerging territorial arrangements and practices that are shaping how things are organized on the ground and how people conceptualize Europe as a geographical construct. Focusing on questions of territoriality and metageography can offer insights into the socio-political significance of multi-level governance while directing attention to developments that have the potential to undermine dominant political-territorial framings of Europe.

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