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Open Access Publications from the University of California

About

Territories is a new and innovative international journal that covers the evolution of theories, notions and concepts, facts and interpretations of empirical analysis related to the field of regional studies. The journal aims to publish original research from an interdisciplinary angle, which deals with the economic, socio-political, environmental and philosophical dimensions of urban and non-urban (post-national) regions. The specific goal of Territories stands on the study, debate and intellectual argument on how the global scenario provokes a new understanding, recognition and evolution of regional realities around the world, which go beyond the national concept. This journal will publish papers that engage with the economic and political conditions that have a founded impact towards regional realities, and vice versa. It is important to note that this reverse angle is crucial to understand the global scene today. Territories represents a new agora where to bring critical perspectives that may help to understand and change the current hegemonic conditions.

Volume 1, Issue 1, 2018

Regions Beyond Their Spatiality: Political, Social and Urban Approaches to a Post-National Scenarios

In this first issue we want to question the very spatiality of a region. For that we would like to focus on how the concept of nation state has evolved into a more dynamic reality and currently represents one of the major challenges for Europe as an union of a multiplicities of social and cultural realities. With this respect, many smaller regions in Europe (Basque, Catalan, Scotland, and others) remain underrepresented not only in their political stem, but also in their cultural singularity and innovative capabilities to reinvent current politics and economics, as they are to build up new approaches to urban and social design. Therefore, we consider that these questions are the backbone of current political, urban and cultural issues in Europe and represent the next big challenge that Europe, as a political union, will be facing in the coming decades

Editor in Chief Note

Note from Editor-in-Chief

The journal Territories: A Trans-Cultural Journal of Regional Studies officially takes off with this first issue. Created in and around the idea of post-national realities that emerge around the globe, it navigates in the idea of post-foundational geographies that do not respond to ancestral and/or causal nominations, but are based in new imaginaries that reach out cultural intersections. The diverse editorial board is formed of internationally based scholars and students, with a clear interdisciplinary aim, who strive to provide with an open-access, peer-reviewed forum of discussion, with special focus on minor/small cultures that form the in-process and continuously changing new regionalities

Articles

Algorithmic Nations: Towards the Techno-Political (Basque) City-Region

Despite the need to better understand the changing dynamics between the ongoing political regionalization processes and the re-scaling of nation-states, at least in Europe, updated and timely research that responds to these challenges fueled by data-driven societies and the algorithmic revolution invigorated by an uneven establishment of borders remains scant and ambiguous. Nations, regardless of the spatial boundary by which we define them, matter as much as political borders and account for algorithmic disruption. Hence, this paper explores these new cartographies from the regional studies perspective by presenting the city-region as a pivotal term amidst a wide range of challenges for cities, regions, and nation-states. The Basque Country, as a small, stateless, city-regionalized European nation, is presented as a case study, focusing on its transitional techno-political and city-regional metaphor called ‘Euskal Hiria’ (Basque City). The paper examines five standpoints in the understanding of this notion as well as three potential drivers (metropolitanization, devolution, and the right to decide) that will further determine its future position amidst Spain, France and the EU. The paper explores the concept of Basque City in the context of the attempts by small states (such as Estonia and Singapore) and small, stateless city-regionalized nations (such as Catalonia, Flanders, and Quebec) to modify their governmental logics and devolve powers through blockchain technologies, thus enabling their interactions directly with citizens by setting up new city-regional and techno-political patterns that this paper terms ‘Algorithmic Nations’.

Toward an Expanded Cubanidad: Foucault’s Aesthetics of the Self and the Embodiment of Revolutionary Subjectivities

Drawing from interviews with Cuban nationals during and shortly after the 50th anniversary of the Castro-led revolution, this essay explores Cubanidad or the dynamic and constantly evolving conception that Cubans have of themselves as revolutionary subjects. It does so by first outlining a Foucauldian framework that highlights the embodied, rather than ideological, constitution of subjectivity and offering a generative method for discourse analysis that moves against the dominant currents of binary containment. Second, it tracks the production of that embodied subjectivity backward through the revolutionary rhetoric of such foundational figures as José Martí and Ernesto (Che) Guevara as well as forward into divergent self-conceptions among contemporary Cubans. The essay ends by reflecting on the possibilities and limitations that this identity poses for the normalization of Cuba within the global political and economic community.

The weak fronts of political pluralism. National and cultural minorities in Europe

This article deals with the political challenges that European liberal democracies confront in relation to their internal national pluralism. After analysing two analytical distortions of Western political thought –the fallacy of abstraction and the usual shortcomings of this tradition in relation to pluralism- the article presents twelve elements for a political and moral refinement of plurinational liberal democracies. These elements are linked with an analytical and normative collective dimension usually marginalized and which cannot be reduced to the individualist, universalist and stateist approach of traditional democratic liberalism and constitutionalism. Finally, the article deals with the practical solutions offered by comparative politics to try to accommodate nationally pluralist societies according to reviewed liberal-democratic patterns.

EU spatiality under question - Territorial cohesion in danger

Spatial transformations constitute an important attempt to perpetuate a setting that becomes a stabilizing factor of human consciousness in the course of time. The understanding of spatial transformations becomes directly dependent on the prevailing balance between the unity and the multiplicity of the concepts of space, place, and territory. The paper highlights the importance of spatial transformations with respect to the EU integration undertaking and the fact that the insufficient knowledge of the inherent characteristics of territory poses a threat to the achievement of the territorial cohesion objective. This is so given that both the EU official documents and the EU adopted practices are far from the real meaning – and the achievement – of territorial cohesion. In fact, the conflict of interests and goals, through the demands of hard and soft planning, has an adverse impact on the strength of EU territory. The change of perception and the view of territory through the lens of the specificities of space and place may redefine the way of viewing the EU integration undertaking. In contrast, the social disciplinary, implicitly, contrasts the EU founding values, providing room to national entities to act against the cohesion of the EU territory, thus limiting the desire and willingness to share the common EU vision that is embedded in the EU territory.

Book Reviews

Book Review Old Gods, New Enigmas: Marx’s Lost Theory

At the close of his Living in the End Times, Žižek returns to a concern that theology has become (again) a touchstone of radical political activity.  Indeed, the work of socialism has always—rightly or wrongly, positively and negatively—maintained a strongly messianic-apocalyptic character in the hands of its most ardent supporters.  Žižek’s correct analysis in End Times is to remind his reader that such energies ought to be handled with care, because the desire (under the insistently traumatic terms of contemporary life) is that we simply reassert the moral, agential supremacy of the “big Other” who will validate and assure socialism’s success.  Such a condition leads us then to something that radical activists on the street—as an entity separate from those theorizing capitalism’s demise—might do well to call simply class consciousness.  Ever the goal of organizational energies, the best version of class consciousness (à la Žižek) exists between the self and group identification, and is infused with an energetic potentiality that transcends the false activity of “struggle” insofar as it sees the raising up of one another’s class-based interests as having an actual productive end, and not (in the messianic mode) keeping up the fight in the sense of running in place until the end finally (finally!) comes.

Book Review Resilience, Crisis and Innovation Dynamics. New Horizons in Regional Science series

Stemming from ecology studies, the interdisciplinary concept of resilience has been gaining significance and notoriety towards the understanding of socioeconomic systems, reverberating the prevailing feelings of uncertainty and insecurity. Emanated from the extent, the depth and the duration of the recent (i.e. erupted in years 2007-8) world-wide financial and economic crisis, the prevalence of such feelings – and thus, the emergence of the concept of resilience – is no surprise. Indeed, the crisis has exposed the highly engaged with globally footloose activities, socioeconomic systems to exogenous disturbances (shocks) and resilience is, precisely, interwoven with the capacity of socioeconomic systems to move through multiple equilibria. Particularly, under such an evolutionary perspective, resilience may point to the capacity of socioeconomic systems, not only to respond successfully to short-term disturbances, but also to sustain long-term development.