The University of Arizona

On 'Reconsidering Regional Political Ecologies' 13 years on

Peter A. Walker


Is the region "dead"? I argue that for all its ambiguity, complexity, negotiability, fluidity, and socially-constructedness, the region is not dead and neither should it be. If for no other reason, this is true because so many non-geographers continue to firmly believe in and practice the heresy of the region. Perhaps equally importantly, can it really be argued that no important geographic phenomena occur at the meso-scale? There are certainly many quite real geographic phenomena that exist at scales that cannot be described as either global or local—and for which we have no better word than "regional." The region is a cognitive expression of geographic coherence; and all things put together can and do fall apart through continuous processes of social, environmental, political and economic change. In the end, the declaration of the "death" of the region is not really a choice that geographers will make. The world will go on thinking and acting in regional ways. The question is not whether the region is dead—it is not. And the question is not even whether the region is problematic—it is. The question instead is whether geographers will take the lead in understanding and educating about the region in all its problematic complexity, a task, I argue, we are well suited to do.


Keywords: region, political ecology, geography

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