Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 2009, 2, 3–12

doi:10.1093/cjres/rsp001 Advance Access publication 2 February 2009

Editorial: Rescaling the state: new modes of institutional–territorial organization

Linda Lobaoa, Ron Martinb and Andre ´ s Rodrı ´guez-Posec
a

Departments of Rural Sociology, Sociology, and Geography, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA. lobao.1@osu.edu b Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Downing Place, Cambridge CB2 3EN, UK. rlm1@cam.ac.uk c Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, UK. a.rodriguez-pose@lse.ac.uk
Downloaded from cjres.oxfordjournals.org by guest on July 5, 2011

The modern state in transformation
Over the past 100 years, modern Western states have undergone two historic transformations. The first occurred between the 1920s and the 1940s, when the liberal, non-interventionist form that had dominated the 19th and earlier centuries gave way to the Keynesian welfare interventionist (or Fordist) form. From its origins in the 1930s (in the UK, the USA and Sweden), the Keynesian welfare state project emerged as the dominant post-war model of social and economic regulation among many of the advanced industrialized nations. Its twin goals were the stabilization of the inherent cyclical instabilities of capitalist growth and the construction of mass societal support and cohesion through the maintenance of full employment and provision of a public welfare system. Of course, nation states pursued different variants of the basic model (Esping-Andersen, 1990; Painter, 2001). Specific policies and the degree of intervention differed according to the particular balance of socio-economic forces and historical political–institutional legacies in each country. At the same time, the Keynesian welfare state project brought about changes to the territorial organization of the state. Although, again, the nature and extent of these changes varied across na-

tion states and interacted with the diverse national structures inherited from the past, involving differing degrees and forms of devolution of powers and responsibilities to subnational regional, city or local levels, the ascent of the Keynesian welfare state reinforced national or federal governments virtually everywhere at the expense of subnational governments and authorities (Brenner 2004; Donahue, 1997; Rodrı ´guez-Pose and Gill, 2003). These common features permit some generalization as to the implications of the Keynesian welfare state model of state regulation for patterns of uneven regional development (see Martin and Sunley, 1997). For one thing, ‘national’ space was the essential geographical unit of socio-economic organization, accumulation and regulation over which the state functioned as sovereign actor. As Radice (1984, 116) pointed out ‘the national economy is privileged in Keynesian theory for the purely practical reason that the nation-state system defines geopolitical space with the necessary features convenient for the theory: a common currency, common laws, and shared institutions’. Indeed, the Keynesian welfare project required a high degree of ‘closure’ of the national socio-economic space in order for the state’s domestic policies to have their desired

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trade. health care and other public goods.oxfordjournals. As a result.Lobao. At the same time. 1991. 2011 . The argument is that over the past three decades the post-war Keynesian welfare state model has been progressively undermined both from within and externally by three interrelated developments: the exhaustion and crisis of Fordism as a regime of economic production. Peck. Nation states have not. the whirlwind of which they are now witnessing. 2004. and in some cases even devolving. competition and neoliberal state (Brenner. 1997. been innocent bystanders in this process: the rise and diffusion of neoliberal political ideology from the 1980s onward actively involved the deregulation of markets and institutions. helping to fuel the very globalization process that has weakened the economic sovereignty of the state. as neoliberal states sought to constrain public spending and refocus intervention from social welfare to the promotion of economic efficiency and flexibility (in order to better compete in global markets). For another. 1984). In this sense. of course. the accelerating processes of globalization since the 1980s have certainly challenged— or at least reconfigured—such a notion. post-Fordist. in many senses ‘borderless’—as the global financial crisis emerging in 2008 demonstrated vividly—that the room for independent domestic policy intervention for nation states has become much more circumscribed. The effect of these programmes was to foster consistent standards of social welfare and social infrastructure provision across regions and localities. the economic and social strategies pursued by post-war Keynesian nation states necessarily involved a high degree of ‘spatial centralization’ of political regulation of the domestic economy and civil society. increasing emphasis has been put on decentralizing. Martin and Rodrı ´guez-Pose effects. function. At the same time. automatic social benefit systems and explicit regional and urban policies. National economies are now so interwoven with one another. gave the Keynesian nation state a distinct ‘spatially and socially redistributive role’. Martin 4 and Sunley. And as nation states have lost or forfeited some of their economic Downloaded from cjres. But during the 1970s. While the idea of the ‘national economic space’ that underpinned the post-war Keynesian nation state was never as valid as it was assumed to be (Radice.org by guest on July 5. Under the post-war Keynesian welfare state.. 1993. thereby incorporating them into an increasingly ‘collective or public’ socio-economic space. adapting to the spatio-organizational structure of different state systems (especially whether unitary or federal). infrastructure. Lo ´ pez-Bazo et al. the forms of welfare models pursued and the ‘territorial code’ of the state as seen in the division of powers and responsibilities between the central state and subnational governments on the one hand and supranational forms of governance on the other. Several key forces have combined to once more transform the modern state. General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and Bretton Woods—set up precisely to guarantee the stability of each national economy. in almost every advanced industrial country. World Bank. Barro and Sala-I-Martı ´n. 1990. stimulating debate about the nature. social and spatial inequalities in income and general public well-being declined at least up to the early-1970s (Armstrong. together with progressive taxation systems. monetary and welfare measures. nation states have actively ceded some of their powers to global capital. form and future of what is variously called the shift to a post-Keynesian. 1995. The counterpart of this centralized political regulation was ‘spatial socio-economic integration’. money and capital flows between nation states were regulated via the international bodies—such as the International Monetary Fund. The management of the national socio-economy itself required new centralized powers of coordination and manipulation of basic fiscal. This. the administration and implementation of economic and social policies down to regional and local levels. Schumpeterian workfare. accelerating and deepening globalization and the shift towards pro-market neoliberalism. 2001). capital accumulation and social regulation. This spatial centralization of political power unfolded across the developed world. the post-war Keynesian welfare state model began to unravel. 2002. 1999). The result has been a new configuration of state–market relations. most countries saw dramatic growth in state spending on utilities. Jessop.

And.g. 1997). 2000). These approaches underscored the realization that the simultaneous emergence of regions. international 5 The ‘rescaling’ issue The progressive demise of the post-war Keynesian welfare nation state as a consequence of the parallel challenges of global and regional economic integration and the diffusion of neoliberal political ideology.org by guest on July 5. 1999). Researchers first raised questions about how factors such as the growth of supranational regulatory bodies and the importance of local subnational state responses were undermining the autonomy of the nation state (e. 1997. responsibilities across different tiers of government were so enmeshed that it was becoming increasingly difficult to determine who was responsible for what (Pike et al. allowing the nation state to shape and very much remain at the heart of this new governance structure. 1997). has directed social scientists’ attention to issues involving the scale of the state. 2007). O’Brien. demands for decentralization and transfers of powers and resources to subnational tiers of government were viewed as stripping the state of many of its traditional functions (Keating. who in his book The European Rescue of the Nation-State defended the thesis that European integration was revitalizing not weakening nation states by allowing them to shape activities beyond the rigid constraints of their national boundaries. Mitterrand’s France. 1995). 2004). 1995. where the twin forces of economic integration and nationalist and regionalist trends were at their height.. Political economy analyses of capitalist regulation also questioned the trajectory of the Keynesian welfare nation state. financial problems and the revival of free market ideologies were casting doubts on the capacity of and convenience of state intervention in the economy and about the social model associated with it. Jessop. Second. Kohl’s Germany—just to mention the most significant cases—were vibrant societies. sure of their place in the world and their respective socio-economic models. functions. Peck and Tickell. ‘hollowed out’ of the core elements that defined their very existence (Hirst and Thompson. And yet the paradox was that European nation states seemed anything but dead or even moribund.oxfordjournals. Hooghe (1996) and Hooghe and Marks (2001) identified the transformation of the nation state in the emergence of dense multiagent systems operating in a multiscalar environment with the roles of different government tiers embedded within one another (Hooghe and Marks. In this complex multilevel governance system. ‘from below’. 1995. 1994). and the drive towards decentralization. They were also engaged in the most ambitious experiment in economic and social integration ever seen in peacetime. The European nation state was reinventing itself as a post-Keynesian. post-Fordist entity whose role was shifting from that of an actor or a direct player in economic affairs into that of a facilitator.Rescaling the state sovereignty to the march of globalization. an enabler and a vehicle for economic governance (Hirst and Thompson. The dominant view was that nation states were firmly on the retreat (Amin and Tomaney. contributing to the need to attend to the state at the subnational scale (Amin. particularly its regional unevenness. the European Union (EU). on the other. 1995. Nowhere were these challenges greater than in Europe. 2011 . Leading the way was Milward (1992). From a different perspective. Britain’s Thatcher. European states—much more than states elsewhere—seemed to be losing traditional Downloaded from cjres. First. finally. Ohmae. The paradox between the challenges to the European nation state and its vitality was quickly spotted by scholars across the social sciences who grappled to understand the reasons for the flourishing European post-Keynesian. 1997). ‘from above’. regional and city authorities have not only seen their local economies become more exposed to the global economy but also sought greater autonomy to carve their own role within it. on the one hand. 1992. How could this circle be squared? The early answers came precisely from researchers analysing European integration. Tomaney and Ward. ‘from within’. 1994. Cox. post-Fordist state in the face of apparent adversity. globalization and economic integration were believed to erode the nation state’s power to control the traditional resorts of economic management (Cairncross.

evolving from a simple institution towards a mesh of social relations in which new bases of power emerged from the capacity to broker market relationships and mediate interaction among different levels of government (Jessop. the body of work emerged from a confluence of literatures on globalization and transformation of the nation state. For Brenner (2004). national. 2004). Far from implying the demise of the nation state. 2009) inform contemporary work. These pioneering approaches have contributed to a body of literature on the rescaling of the state that has blossomed since the turn of the century. Although studies on state rescaling still often respond specifically to these distinct strands of literatures. 2004) work in particular have provided a more unifying thematic scope to the literature and helped define the contours of recent debates. both the Keynesian and the postKeynesian nation state have its own special forms of territorial organization. Building on Jessop’s (2000) view of the nation state as an evolving body of social relationships. In addition. with spatial scales essential to understanding this constant transformation.g. is in constant change. 2003. Most broadly. First. political science and sociology have contributed to a growing corpus of work on this issue (e. where centralized planning and top-down state-driven development have given way to multiscalar forms of governance. far from limiting the capacity of the nation state to influence economic processes. the authors’ contributions should be contextualized within the status of current work on the topic. The role of the state thus shifted from simple governmental provision to constructing and articulating a complex and multiscalar governance system (Jones. it heralded the birth of a more supple state capable of turning challenges to its authority to its advantage. MacLeod and Goodwin. The nation state was reinventing itself. A number of scholars from human geography.org by guest on July 5. allowing the state to operate simultaneously in specific places and at multiple scales (Brenner. citing Mansfield’s (2005) critique that state–society Downloaded from cjres. Extant research has evolved from overlapping but often conceptually segmented literatures. 2000). The articles in this issue demonstrate a common objective of building on existing conceptual. neoliberal hegemony and political economy perspectives on the trajectory of capitalism. a number of authors featured in this issue seek to introduce a more nuanced conceptualization of spatial scale into research on state transformation. while clearly different from what had existed before. Brenner posits that the nation state. the thematic issues that might be explored and the research strategies for sorting out complex empirical relationships are scrutinized by various authors in this special issue. subnational and local. Jones. Cox (2009) also notes the persistence of this view. 1999). As discussed above.oxfordjournals. 2004). 1995). the chief recent contributions have come from Brenner (1999. 2005. still an incomplete and emergent project. 2001). It is being continuously produced and reproduced. bounded and with hierarchical levels and that juxtaposes the global. was no less relevant. Goodwin et al.. Brenner’s (2004) and Jessop’s (2002. 2011 . they have merged more into an amalgam topical area. 6 The contributions The articles featured in this journal issue aim at contributing to and extending this ongoing debate on the rescaling of the state. literatures such as the long-standing research on metropolitan regions (see Cox. Much of the literature has built on what Pike and Tomaney (2009) call a ‘territorial approach’ that views scale as fixed. Martin and Rodrı ´guez-Pose organizations and multinational enterprises. Challenges to the Keynesian welfare nation state have led to questioning of the forms of state organization. Questions about the meaning and significance of scale itself and its link to state–society processes. Perhaps. thematic and empirical aspects of the rescaling debate. 2001. this literature has analysed the forms of and factors behind the transformation of the nation state. The main contributions can be summarized as follows.Lobao. were giving a new lease on life to what many had imagined a worn out institution (Jessop. 2009) and more recent ‘governance’ approaches (see Buchs. such as regulation theory. This new role. far from being a static territorial entity. Under different labels and from different angles.

starting from a fiscal decentralization perspective. Although analysts have long addressed decentralization particularly in the U. In sum. More sinisterly. note that state rescaling itself ‘. Keating et al. over the last decade or so it has become a key state process of concern globally. In addition to extending the study of state decentralization processes theoretically. 2009) and social welfare activities (Scarpa. the rise of neoliberal governance. In the contemporary period. can be interpreted as cyclical variations in decentralization over time’. figure importantly in the account of Keating et al. Martı ´nez-Va ´ zquez and Timofeev (2009). There is a need to deal with 7 Downloaded from cjres. discursive sense. case as Cox (2009) notes. His comparative study of Sweden and Finland demonstrates that different patterns of internal. Here scale is seen more as structuring the material activity of states and less as being constructed by them. making it problematic (if not incorrect) to assign such changes to distinct scales. particularly in a cultural. Another thematic issue pushed forward by the articles concerns the emerging forms of governance that introduce a greater role for non-state actors. In their different ways. All the articles point out the complexity of analysing state–society processes across space. Scarpa (2009) explains how the comparative welfare states’ literature has tended to homogenize the decentralization experiences of the Nordic nations. employment activation programmes are decentralized to municipalities in both nations but these programmes are tailored to different regional labour market needs and orchestrated largely by the central state which still plays a strong role in reducing subnational inequality. all the articles identify decentralization as a pivotal research question for it directly links state action with spatial scale. attention also is given to theorizing how economic development (Pike and Tomaney. Their cross-national study finds that patterns of fiscal decentralization unfold differently over time depending upon whether measures of expenditures. unfolding landscape of economic governance that has emerged from the action and rhetoric of state and non-state actors as they seek to deal with uneven development across the UK. 2009) are diffused downward to subnational states. (2009) of the development of territorial policy communities in the UK. uneven development and variations in the welfare state. such as through rhetoric justifying devolution. Buchs (2009) refer to this aspect of state rescaling as its ‘horizontal’ dimension. Part of the tendency towards a territorial perspective on scale arises from conventional Marxian political economy approaches that inform much of the state-rescaling literature. by focusing on decentralization. for example.org by guest on July 5. Business interests and unions. Since growth and redistribution are core functions of the nation state. Cox (2009). Keating et al. the articles also confront the conceptual protocols by which state transformation should be studied.S. the authors’ theoretical concern is to speak to central political economic and governance questions. revenues and size are used. Pike and Tomaney (2009) see a messy. regional labour market conditions in each country resulted in variations in social insurance schemes. in terms of thematic issues. according to these authors the pushing down of responsibility for growth and redistribution to local public and private sector actors reflects the central state’s interest in abdicating responsibility for ameliorating spatial inequality. including the establishment of different programmes in different time periods. developing hypotheses about ‘territorial policy communities’ which they explore empirically using four regional devolutionary contexts in the UK. They examine this issue. framing them in light of spatial scale.Rescaling the state changes span scales. Second. Martı ´nezVa ´ zquez and Timofeev (2009) argue for the need to examine multiple measures of decentralization. (2009) note that past research on decentralization has neglected the manner by which it gives rise to different forms of interest articulation.oxfordjournals. Questions about decentralization are situated into wider debates about the relative decline of the nation state. (2009) and Pike and Tomaney (2009) argue for the greater need to integrate the material or territorial approach with more relational accounts that take into consideration the fluidity of scale and its cultural construction by state actors. 2011 . the authors also seek to advance its empirical exploration.

. That is. Moore. Several of the authors propose new conceptual templates for studying state rescaling. where traditional sectoral divisions predominate. to be sensitive to a host of multiscalar processes and to recognize different strains of literatures addressing the topic. designing public finance settlements and mobilizing nonstate actors in the attempt to govern subnational manifestations of uneven development. 2008). Keating et al. Pike and Tomaney (2009) take on a similar effort to develop a framework for studying rescaling through reconciling ‘territorial’ and ‘relational’ approaches. labour and civic society. as seen in Brenner (2004) and Jessop (2002. a concern that has generated lively debate particularly among human geographers (see Marston et al. Martin and Rodrı ´guez-Pose the intersection of scale along with the multifarious institutional actors reflecting various arms of the state. While both sets of literature at least implicitly recognize these two dimensions. where new policy communities form as subnational governance is strengthened. The other is to start with a particularly territory and trace its institutional reorganization from forces within and externally. Pike and Tomaney (2009) combine these approaches. ‘partial exit’. as in studies of territorial governance restructuring. They outline three possible outcomes as devolution proceeds: no change (or ‘regions without regionalism’). capital. the development of conceptual templates capturing both generalization and specificity ushered in by multiple. and ‘new regionalism’. They apply their framework to the empirical case of the UK where they argue that a ‘pattern of territorial governance of bewildering complexity’ has emerged that defies any analysis utilizing fixed scales and conventional territorial units. is addressed by Brenner (2009).Lobao. overlapping state–society relationships.org by guest on July 5.oxfordjournals. These are daunting issues for they run up against the limitations of the human mind to sort out complexity and make it difficult for analysts to provide a clear-cut storyline as well as to inform theory. actor-oriented constructivist accounts that emphasize interest group articulation and the state’s efforts to legitimate programmes and policies. On balance. He outlines two methodological approaches for analysing the intersection of time and territory in state processes. they are given different weight in studies and their interaction is not well explored. their proponents challenging what they see as more essentialist and bounded views of space. the manner by which the periodization of state rescaling might be studied. To guide empirical research. on the vertical (such as decentralization or globalization) and the horizontal (such as authority transfers between state and non-state actors) dimensions of rescaling. where select interest groups delink themselves from others and venue shop for special treatment. the articles collectively stress the primacy that now needs to be given to ‘the empirical’ side of the rescaling question. while the study of state rescaling must certainly be guided by theory. policy delivery and joint policymaking and policy delivery. Finally. complex relationships are needed. territorial embeddedness and potential contradictions are less likely to Downloaded from cjres. 2011 . putting forth a framework on the geographic political economy of the ‘qualitative state’ that focuses on the state’s action in constructing devolution projects. as well as more discursive. One is to start with a specific cluster of state policies such as housing and determine their spatial trajectory over time. There is a need to incorporate both material accounts emphasizing the constraints imposed by structural forces such as uneven development. (2009) develop a framework for examining interest articulation in response to devolution. Buchs (2009) argues that relatively independent literatures exist that focus. State rescaling also raises the fundamental question of how to study scale itself. overall it remains a highly empirical question whose complexity. They note that territorial approaches viewing scale as more fixed analytical scaffolding are evident in 8 the new state spatialities or territorial governance literatures. respectively. A broad question that confronts researchers. Buchs (2009) develops a conceptual template for mapping state transformation that uses these dimensions separately and in combination to scrutinize policymaking. 2005. empirical studies of state rescaling are faced with the need to examine complex. Relational approaches build from the interrogation of scale. 2004).

oxfordjournals. uncertainty and experimentation across territories and scales. case. cutting back on social programmes for the poor to avoid becoming ‘welfare magnets’ while they catered to business interests (Lobao. in part because neoliberal advocates believed that subnational governments would engage in a race to the bottom.S. state-rescaling processes vary by historical. Decentralization. Pike and Tomaney (2009) see neoliberal state policy as influencing the governance of economic development and reinforcing subnational inequality. for example. 9 Downloaded from cjres. welfare reform legislation of 1996 involved devolution of the programme to states and counties. while as noted above. In addition. 2008). Cox (2009) similarly calls for ‘more convincing empirical work’ that is needed to challenge. Scarpa (2009) suggests that equity and efficiency considerations have played a strong role in decentralizing social insurance schemes. the authors contributing to this special issue scrutinize questions about spatial scale. decentralization and governance and appropriate research strategies that advance the body of work on rescaling the state as a whole. can be topdown or bottom-up driven. economic and institutional conditions distinct to each nation. 2000). In turn. For example. the articles featured here raise questions and challenges for researchers. in the case of the UK. In contrast to theories assuming a strategic and conscious central state deployment of devolutionary policies. This makes it difficult for U. Overall the authors demonstrate that the meaning and significance of state-rescaling processes are highly contextually dependent. scholars to draw from and appreciate European-oriented perspectives that appear to take the process as something new and vice versa. The major U. 2008). their study of the UK finds the state’s agenda rife with conflict.org by guest on July 5. Schram et al. ample. This poses inherent challenges for developing theory and for comparative research (see also Razin.S. Moreover. Meanwhile in the EU case.g. one of the long-standing justifications for decentralization particularly from the Reagan presidency onward was to shrink government at all levels. Scarpa (2009) also argues for the importance of national context. particularly across nations. in the case of Nordic countries. particularly as these too vary from nation to nation.S. while Brenner’s (2004) work is a foundation for the rescaling-the-state literature. elaborate and push forward theory. Cox (2009) argues that these stages cannot really apply to the U. Another challenge comes in explaining the structural and discursive forces behind state-rescaling processes. Pike and Tomaney (2009) argue that theorizations about rescaling processes have tended to outstrip social scientists’ empirical grasp of actual patterns of change. 2007. language or history to the pursuit of economic efficiency (Rodrı ´guez-Pose and Sandall. Scarpa (2009) similarly discusses not only the strengths but also the limitations of applying Brenner’s framework to the case of the development of social insurance programmes in Finland and Sweden. although there are important national variations. 2011 Rescaling the state: challenges for future research Collectively.. the rationale for decentralizing has also been shifting from the traditional bottom-up issues of identity. for example. several authors raise questions about national applications of his stages of the rescaling of urban governance (e. Moreover. culture. In the U. he takes issue with the view of a profound shift in state regulatory capacities towards the subnational scale even in the UK and France. the authors grapple with a number of issues that speak to future work. case which as noted above has always reflected a strong decentralized state. making decentralization a cornerstone of neoliberal policy. endogenous development and urban locational policy).Rescaling the state yield results that correspond with theoretical expectations as compared to the study of other state– society transformations. Cox (2009). In sum. the authors pose a related question: to what degree are core theoretical approaches transferable across different national contexts? For ex- . spatial Keynesianism.S. Even within the seemingly more homogenous Nordic welfare states. notes that the USA historically has been one of the most highly decentralized nations in the world.

2009).. 2009. more rigorous crossnational and other comparative analyses and better understanding of the scaled periodizations of contemporary capitalism.Lobao. he argues that although research on the rescaling of the state continues to grow. This too has generated new questions and debates. Cox (2009) argues that views about a strong wave of decentralization in which EU localities have gained a great deal of autonomy relative to the past miss the bigger picture of the continued importance of central governments in local affairs. However.oxfordjournals. In part this may reflect the question of measurement and the point of Martı ´nez-Va ´ zquez and Timofeev (2009) that different indicators can show alternative streams of decentralization/ centralization occurring across the same nations over time. political parties in the EU continue to operate largely at the scale of the nation state and so represent yet another centralizing tendency. That is. broad directions for moving forward the literature on rescaling the state can be outlined. there is a need to overcome fragmentation and to draw together the various strands of literatures that have been brought to bear on the topic. His article takes critical stock of the work to date and lays out future research directions. researchers need to engage more fully with recent debates about spatial scale (Brenner. Not only may this lead to less rigid analytical treatments of scale in keeping with new developments in human geography. debates about a relative decline of the nation state and rise of subnational (and supranational) forms of governance that framed foundational work have given way to an interrogation of the power of the nation state.org by guest on July 5. Second. Keating et al. Scarpa (2009) explains how the central governments of Finland and Sweden utilize municipal governments to deploy social insurance policy to achieve national goals of reducing economic inequality. he cautions against the danger 10 of rescaling overload: an increasing tendency to wrap up state restructuring under the banner of rescaling in cases where this may not be applicable. Brenner (2009) provides a capstone view of key challenges that remain. Plus. Cross-national work needs to more systematically attend to comparisons involving Downloaded from cjres. Finally. From the vantage of a body of work a decade in the making. Other articles see more of a churning process occurring with no zero sum. 2009. Cox. but more importantly it should better enable researchers to conceptually capture and understand the fluidity of staterescaling processes. theorized and empirically studied. In brief. theoretical generalizations need to be tempered with much more sensitivity to national context and paths of development. rise or fall of the power of the nation state. This could help address challenges to research outlined above particularly with regard to comparative work. He notes that in some sense. he notes that. despite the emergence of a host of regional parties and organizations. Pike and Tomaney (2009) note that the rhetoric of devolution has helped the central state to pursue and achieve neoliberal goals. and the challenges illustrated by and contributions of the articles featured here. Scarpa (2009) and Pike and Tomaney (2009) indicate more broadly that theorists have underestimated the role of central government in orchestrating and controlling subnational governance processes. Pike and Tomaney. Third. Martin and Rodrı ´guez-Pose As discussed earlier. there is as yet no broad consensus on exactly what this conceptual abstraction means and how it should be interpreted. governance. 2009. greater attention should be given to the development of conceptual templates for studying state rescaling. as noted by a number of authors. These and other authors demonstrate that the increasing importance of subnational governments is not incompatible with a continuing strong role of the national state. This entails bridging more abstract theoretical perspectives on the state. First. and social welfare and economic development policy. He delineates three frontiers for this future work: developing stronger explanatory frameworks particularly at the mesolevel. we are moving to a second round of state-rescaling research. 2011 . where more systematic carving out of the topic is needed. Moreover. such as those dealing with materialist and actor-oriented accounts as well as better integrating often disparately treated substantive literatures such as those attending to decentralization.

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