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James Bickerton and Alain-G. Gagnon

This chapter explores the concept of region, defined as a territorial entity distinct from both locality and nation-state. The region constitutes an economic, political, administrative, and/or cultural space, within which different types of human agency interact, and towards which individuals and communities may develop attachments and identities. Regionalism is the manifestation of values, attitudes, opinions, preferences, claims, behaviours, interests, attachments, and identities that can be associated with a particular region. The chapter first reviews the main theories and approaches that are used to understand the political role and importance of regions, including the modernization paradigm, Marxism, and institutionalism. It then considers the various dimensions and aspects of regions and regionalism, with particular emphasis on regionalism from below versus regionalization ‘from above’. It also examines the political economy of regions, tracing the changing economic role and place of regions within the national and global economy.


This chapter focuses on the concept of civil society, along with interest groups and the media. It first provides a background on the evolution of civil society and interest groups before discussing corporatism. In particular, it examines the ways in which civil society responds to state actors and tries to manoeuvre them into cooperation. This is politics from below. The chapter proceeds by considering the notion of ‘infrapolitics’ and the emergence of a school of ‘subaltern’ studies. It also explores the role of the media in political life and the impact of new communication technologies such as the Internet and mobile phones on politics. Finally, it evaluates some of the challenges presented by new media to civil society.