Euro-politics of scale: Competing visions of the region in eastern Germany

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Abstract

As John Agnew (Political geography: a reader, 1997) has argued, political and economic change often occasions competing visions of the scales that are appropriate for organizing particular political and economic activities. Nowhere is this more evident than in the European Union, and eastern Germany offers compelling evidence of the contested nature of contemporary scalar politics. Yet a recent debate in human geography (see, e.g. Marston et al., Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 30:416–432, 2005) calls into question the very concept of scale and rejects its hierarchical conceptualization. In light of this debate, it is appropriate to draw on real-world case studies to examine the ways in which geography figures into policy. Drawing on field work in Saxony, evidence is offered in the form of competing visions of regionalism in the EU context. The evidence presented complicates both hierarchical and flat notions of scale. The current process of querying space to identify those scales that are best-suited for the globalized economy offers insights into both the socially constructed nature of scale as well as the ways in which scalar lenses help to illuminate the geographical aspects (and consequences) of strategies for coping with structural changes.

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