CFP: Seeing Like a Region
2018 AAG Meeting | New Orleans, 10-14 April
Organizer: Jean-Paul Addie (Georgia State University)
The aim of this session is to deepen our understanding of how regions are 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 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 governmental arrangements to informal 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 the politics and governance of ‘real existing’ regions (Addie & Keil, 2015); and poses a pressing challenge in the face of accelerated urbanization, the suburbanization of race and poverty, antiquated infrastructure systems, and the impacts of global climate change (Turok et al., 2014).
This session invites contributions that examine the implications of ‘seeing like a region’ for urban/regional theory, politics, and socio-spatial practice. It welcomes conceptual, methodological, and empirical interventions from a variety of geographic and scalar perspectives. Comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives from critical, policy-oriented, and urban science vantage points are also encouraged. Relevant questions and topics include, but are not limited to:
· Who develops regional visions and how are their spatial 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?
· In what ways do state and non-state actors adopt a regional spatial practice?
· How are tensions between perceived, conceived, and lived dimensions of regional space negotiated, and competing scalar agendas balanced?
· What role is played by the production (and re-production) of regional knowledge and practice inside and outside the academy?
If you are interested in participating in either a paper or panel session, please contact Jean-Paul Addie (jaddie[at]gsu.edu) by 10 October with an expression of interest.
Addie, J.-P. D., & Keil, R. (2015). Real existing regionalism: The region between talk, territory and technolgy. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 39(2), 407-417.
Allen, J., & Cochrane, A. (2010). Assemblages of state power: Topological shifts in the organization of government and politics. Antipode, 42(5), 1071-1089.
Amin, A., & Thrift, N. (2017). Seeing like a city. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Jonas, A. E. G., & Ward, K. G. (2007). Introduction to a debate on city-regions: New geographies of governance, democracy and social reproduction. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 31(1), 169-178.
Jones, M., & MacLeod, G. (2004). Regional spaces, spaces of regionalism: territory, insurgent politics and the English question. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 29(4), 433-452.
Magnusson, W. (2011). Politics of urbanism: Seeing like a city. New York: Routledge.
Owens, M. L., & Sumner, J. L. (2017). Regional or parochial? Support for cross-community shaing within city-regions. Journal of Urban Affairs, ealry view.
Paasi, A., & Metzger, J. (2017). Foregrounding the region. Regional Studies, 51(1), 19-30.
Parker, S., & Harloe, M. (2015). What place for the region? Reflections on the regional question and the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 39(2), 361-371.
Scott, J. C. (1998). Seeing like a state: How certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Turok, I., Bailey, D., Bristow, G., Du, J., Fratesi, U., Harrison, J., . . . Wishlade, F. (2014). Editorial: New times, shifting places. Regional Studies, 48(1), 1-6.
Valverde, M. (2011). Seeing like a city: The dialectic of modern and premodern ways of seeing urban governance. Law and Society Review, 45(2), 277-312.