How are regions rendered visible, experienced, and governed? Who can ‘see regionally’, and what, in conceptual and applied terms, does it mean to ‘see like a region’?
According to Scott (1998), to ‘see like a state’ means viewing the spatiality of politics through the territoriality of sovereignty. A world constituted by cohesive territories with claims to internal sovereignty emerges, in which subjects are beholden to the authority of a final arbiter – usually the national state – and disciplined by the arts of spatial governmentality. In contrast, several prominent scholarly interventions now argue that to ‘see like a city’ opens a plethora of diverse political and socio-spatial possibilities that themselves undermine appeals to territorial authority (Valverde, 2011). For Magnusson (2011), ‘seeing like a city’ presents a political world characterized by multiplicity, the presence of diverse knowledges, and a decentered web of politics ‘in becoming’. Amin and Thrift (2017) alternatively ‘see like a city’ to present the urban as a vital, messy, machine-like infrastructural space; the city appears as a living thing built from the agency of numerous human and non-human actors that actively powers urban life.
The territoriality and relationality of regions, however, defy the simple transfer of either the spatial or ontological politics proscribed by seeing ‘like a state’ or ‘like a city’ (Allen & Cochrane, 2010; Jones & MacLeod, 2004; Paasi & Metzger, 2017). Alternative techniques of spatialization and political modalities are required find coherence within the ‘fuzziness’ of regional space. Significantly, the ability to produce and claim regional space is uneven and unequal; regions are experienced over variegated scalar frames and understood differently by diverse social groups, often in partial and fragmented ways (Jonas & Ward, 2007; Owens & Sumner, 2017; Parker & Harloe, 2015). As frames for political activity – from formal governance to everyday urbanism – regions look, and function, very differently relative to where they are viewed from: center/periphery, city/suburb, points of connectivity/spaces of marginalization. This has distinct ramifications for understanding how ‘real existing’ regions are rendered visible, experienced, and governed (Addie & Keil, 2015); tasks rendered all the more pressing in the face of accelerated urbanization, the suburbanization of race and poverty, antiquated infrastructure systems, and the impacts of climate change (Keil, Hamel, Boudreau, & Kipfer, 2017; Turok et al., 2014).
This session examines the implications of ‘seeing like a region’ for urban/regional theory, politics, and socio-spatial practice, addressing issues including:
• Who develops regional visions and how are their space imaginaries legitimized?
• What technologies of power and infrastructure arrangements concretize the region?
• Who benefits, and is excluded, from such formations?
• How can key actors shift from producing a region ‘in itself’ to a region ‘for itself’?
• How are the dynamics of ‘power over’ and ‘power to’ articulated in regional politics?
• How is the region enacted and understood from the bottom up, and outside in?
• How is the regions seen relative to the suburbanization of race and poverty?
• In what ways do state and non-state actors adopt a regional spatial politics?
• How are tensions between differing dimensions of regional space negotiated, and competing scalar agendas balanced?
• What role is played by the (re-)production of regional knowledge and practice inside and outside the academy?
|Presenter||Elena Trubina*, Ural Federal University, From the Second World to the post-socialist space: in search for a substitute of the Eastern Block||20||2:00 PM|
|Presenter||Kane Pham*, University of Technology Sydney, Assembling the city-region: Intensification at the intersection of glocal politics and border relations in the Sydney Global City Region||20||2:20 PM|
|Presenter||Andrew Jonas*, University of Hull, Yi Li*, Hohai University, Seeing city-regionalism as geopolitical processes: the Chinese state and the Yangtze River Delta region||20||2:40 PM|
|Presenter||Christophe SOHN*, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research, Constructing the Cali Baja Bi-National Mega-Region: spatial imaginaries and the framing of the cross-border context||20||3:00 PM|
|Discussant||Igor Calzada University of Oxford||20||3:20 PM|
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