Calls > Session 2

2 – The proliferation of territories. Efficacy of territorial engineering versus political legitimacy.

Co-facilitators: Sylvia CALMES-BRUNET (CUREJ) & Yann RICHARD (PRODIG)

After having envisaged an end to territories, social scientists (lawyers, geographers, political scientists...) are now observing a proliferation of territories, at every scale (particularly local) and every level (from intranational to international).

This proliferation has resulted in a blurring of boundaries that undermines the legitimacy of these territories, which appear more as scales of action (political or otherwise) or strategic frameworks than as constructs resulting from long-term social processes, based on democratic, institutional, and normative mechanisms. The multiplication of territories combined with their permanent reconfiguration prevents their appropriation by the populations concerned, because power is given more to space than to citizens or other stakeholders.

This trend in the organisation of political space raises questions on important issues such as the level of democracy, the construction of collective identity, and growing inequalities. It seems ultimately that the territorialisation of human societies does not permit the legitimization of their political representatives. Nor does it permit the construction of identities based on collective experience. In these circumstances, many territories cannot become objects of representation or identity referents.

In the light of such developments, several hypotheses may be put forward that will be examined in the proposed session: (i) The proliferation of territories contributes to the decreasing legitimacy of territorial frameworks. Paradoxically, it undermines their political effectiveness; (ii) This lack of legitimacy ironically paves the way for more political centralization; (iii) ‘De-proliferation’ does not enable the re-legitimization of territories.

Bibliography

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Expected types of paper

All kinds of presentations are expected (theory, case studies, methodology…) by specialists of various disciplines.

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