Reanimating Regions: Culture, Politics, and Performance, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Reanimating Regions

Culture, Politics, and Performance, 1st Edition

Edited by James Riding, Martin Jones


314 pages | 53 B/W Illus.

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Writing regions, undertaking a regional study, was once a standard form of geographic communication and critique. This was until the quantitative revolution in the middle of the previous century and more definitively the critical turn in human geography towards the end of the twentieth century. From then on writing regions as they were experienced phenomenologically, or arguing culturally, historically, and politically with regions, was deemed to be old-fashioned. Yet the region is, and always will be, a central geographical concept, and thinking about regions can tell us a lot about the history of the discipline called geography.

Despite taking up an identifiable place within the geographical imagination in scholarship and beyond, region remains a relatively forgotten, under-used, and in part under-theorised term. Reanimating Regions marks the continued reinvigoration of a set of disciplinary debates surrounding regions, the regional, and regional geography. Across 18 chapters from international, interdisciplinary scholars, this book writes and performs region as a temporary permanence, something held stable, not fixed and absolute, at different points in time, for different purposes. There is, as this expansive volume outlines, no single reading of a region.

Reanimating Regions collectively rebalances the region within geography and geographical thought. In renewing the geography of regions as not only a site of investigation but also as an analytical framework through which to write the world, what emerges is a powerful reworking of the geographic imagination. Read against one another, the chapters weave together timely commentaries on region and regions across the globe, with a particular emphasis upon the regional as played out in the United Kingdom, and regional worlds both within and beyond Europe, offering chapters from Africa and South America. Addressing both the political and the cultural, this volume responds to the need for a consolidated and considered reflection on region, the regional, and regional geography, speaking directly to broader intellectual concerns with performance, aesthetics, identity, mobilities, the environment, and the body.


'This is a welcome and provocative collection which reveals a resurgence of regional geography, from a spectrum of perspectives. Drawing on a range of detailed case studies, the authors show why regions matter, on the ground, and in the mind, as a locus of social and economic life, a lens on prevailing geographical processes and patterns, and as a resource for imagining alternative, possible worlds.' — Stephen Daniels, Professor of Cultural Geography, University of Nottingham and editor of Envisioning Landscapes, Making Worlds: Geography and the Humanities, and The Iconography of Landscape

'Through a refreshingly-diverse and contemporary set of chapters, this book fully delivers on its title and its promise. Reanimating Regions gathers a distinctive and international set of voices and perspectives. If the fortunes of 'the region' as a conceptual frame and substantive topic have risen and fallen through time, then here we see a strong and fresh case made for regionality as cultural form, political crucible and performative inspiration.' — John Wylie, Professor of Cultural Geography, University of Exeter and author of Landscape

'Region – both as a generic idea and a tool used in governance, classification and distribution – has become increasingly significant during the last few decades. At the same time regional identities and political regionalism have gained popularity at and across various spatial scales, displaying the meaning of regions for economic and cultural life, social reproduction and related struggles. This exciting book brings together an interdisciplinary and international group of scholars and artists who open novel perspectives on what regions are and do, and how we should understand their functions and power in the contemporary globalizing world.' — Anssi Paasi, Professor of Geography, University of Oulu and author of Territories, boundaries and consciousness: the changing geographies of the Finnish-Russian border, and Pure Geography

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

Notes on Contributors



Introduction: A New New Regional Geography

Martin Jones

Part I: Culture

1 Writing Regional Cultural Landscape: Cultural Geography on the Norfolk Broads

David Matless

2 Regions Rock: Heavy Metal and the Role of Music in the Construction of Regional Identity for the British Midlands

Jesse Heley and Marc Welsh

3 On Parochialism

John Tomaney

4 Mapping Cultures of Regional Perception and Conception: A Cultural Cartography from Northeast Brazil

Jörn Seemann

5 Regionalists and Excursionistes: Catalan ‘Regions’ and National Identity

Venetia Congdon

Part II: Politics

6 A Radical New Regional Geography: Notes on a Revolution

James Riding

7 The Crisis at the Centre of the United Kingdom: Exploring Scottish Independence and Democratically Disruptive Regions

Philip Johnstone

8 From ‘Fly Frontier’ to ‘Cotton Country’: Social Change and Agrarian Transformation in the Northwest of Zimbabwe

Nicholas James

9 Intertwined Spatialities: Discursive Construction(s) of Central Germany

Roger Baars and Antje Schlottmann

10 Regions, Regionalisms and Identities: Towards a Regional Mess

Kaj Zimmerbauer

11 City-Region Building and Geohistorical Matters

David Beel, Martin Jones and Ian Rees Jones

Part III: Performance

12 Radiant Copenhagen: Reimagining Regions through Digital Fiction

Rune Graulund, Kristoffer Ørum and Anders Bojen

13 Tracktivist Topographies: Mapping in the Marches and Marching on the Map in Rural Activist Walking Performance

Jess Allen

14 Animating Terroir in the French Alps

Rory Hill

15 Performing Landscape Using a Locative Media Deep Map App: A Cornish Case Study

Lucy Frears, Erik Geelhoed and Misha Myers

16 Extractive Geographies, Immersive Lives: Performative Explorations of Labour and Materialities in the Southern Peak District

George Jaramillo

Afterword: What’s Next for Regional Geography?

John Agnew


About the Editors

James Riding is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Space and Political Agency Research Group/RELATE Centre of Excellence at the University of Tampere, Finland.

Martin Jones is Professor of Human Geography and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Staffordshire University, UK.

About the Series

Regions and Cities

In today’s globalised, knowledge-driven and networked world, regions and cities have assumed heightened significance as the interconnected nodes of economic, social and cultural production, and as sites of new modes of economic governance and policy experimentation. This book series brings together incisive and critically engaged international and interdisciplinary research on this resurgence of regions and cities, and should be of interest to geographers, economists, sociologists, political scientists and cultural scholars, as well as to policy-makers involved in regional and urban development.

If you would like to discuss a potential new book for the series, please contact:

Joan Fitzgerald – [email protected] – Series Editor-in-Chief, or

Natalie Tomlinson – [email protected] – Routledge Commissioning Editor

For more information on the Regional Studies Association, visit


Did you know that as a Regional Studies Association member you’re entitled to a 30% discount on all Routledge books? To order, simply email Luke McNicholas ([email protected]), or phone on +44 (0) 20 701 77545 and declare your RSA membership.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Business Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development