The Territorial Imperative explores an area of growing interest in comparative political economy - the interaction of politics and economics at the mesolevel of the polity. Noting the ubiquity of regional economic disparaties within advanced industrial democracies, Jeffrey Anderson undertakes a sophisticated analysis of the complex political conflicts such disparities generate. In this study of political responses to regional crisis, the principal theoretical focus centers on the impact of constitutional orders as bona fida political institutions. On the basis of a carefully constructed comparison of four declining industrial regions within a broader cross-national comparison of unitary Britain and federal Germany, Anderson concludes that constitutional orders as institutions do in fact matter. The territorial distribution of power, encapsilated in the federal-unitary distinction of interests and resources among subnational and national actors and on the strategies of cooperation and conflict available to them. In the course of the study, Anderson brings together theories of intergovernmental relations, center-periphery, corporatism, pluralism, and the state.
His book provides new insights into more than just mesolevel politics; indeed, the explicit focus on the political economy of regions calls into question aspects of the conventional wisdom of British and German politics, which is based for the most part on national-level studies. Viewed in the context of widespread optimism surrounding the future of regions in a post-1992 Europe, Anderson's findings also underscore the need for caution when assessing the horizons of action for subnational interests in advanced industrial democracies. Offering an innovative theoretical approach grounded in comparative empirical research, The Territorial Imperative will be welcomed by political economists, scholars and students of comparative politics, sociology, and public policy, political geographers, and economists and historians interested in Western Europe.
'The Territorial Imperative is a highly rigourous exploration of the economic and political potential of regional and subregional actors in post-industrial democracies. ... a mine of information which will prove useful to both advanced students and researchers and which will act as a salutary reminder to regional economic policy actors to amend their ways.' German Politics 'This is a very good research report on a relatively neglected aspect of political organisation and action. Its focus is on the regional politics of England and Germany, with case studies of the north-east and West Midlands in England, complemented by analysis of Saarland and North Rhine-Westphalia ... At the risk of repeating a line that will be used by other reviewers, Anderson's book should be an imperative library purchase.' International Journal of Urban and Regional Research