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Rethinking the links between macro-regions and micro-regions

Chapter in book
Authors Fredrik Söderbaum
Published in In: Elisabetta Nadalutti and Otto Kallscheuer (eds) Region-Making and Cross-Border Cooperation: New Evidence from Four Continents
Pages 30-44
ISBN 978-1-138-71907-1
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication Abingdon
Publication year 2018
Published at School of Global Studies, Peace and Development Research
Pages 30-44
Language en
Keywords Regionalism, regional integration, region, state-centrism, space, territory, governance
Subject categories Globalization Studies, Social and Economic Geography, Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)


This chapter challenges the prevailing tendency in the research field to make overly sharp distinctions between micro-regions and macro-regions. Such assumptions result in that scholars underestimate not only the heterogeneity and diversity of contemporary regionalisms but also the relationships between regions in interaction. The approach adopted here is that learning more about the links between micro-regions and macro-regions will be limited by pre-given and fixed regional delimitations. It is also insufficient to characterize regions as being either ‘from above’ (macro) or ‘from below’ (micro), as was often done in previous literature. Drawing on insights from the New Regionalism Approach (NRA) and spatial analysis, this chapter offers a framework for rethinking regional space and improved understanding of the links between micro-regions and macro-regions. One core component of the framework is to avoid state-centrism and ‘methodological nationalism’. Once ‘national space’ is problematized, it is easier to recognise both that all regions are socially constructed — with porous and fuzzy borders — and that they interact and shape one another. The empirical case studies from Africa as well as Asia illuminate the interactions and overlaps between macro-regions and micro-regions.

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