How networks of local political actors build the pan-Alpine region
2. Theoretical framework
The ﬁrst part of this chapter has two aims. Firstly, it situates the re- search within the contemporary debate of regional building by un- derlining the complex relations that exist between social actors and the environmental context in which they act. The region, as analysed here, is affecting and being affected by those relations. It follows Painter’s idea that regions should be understood “as both resources for, and the outcomes of, human action” (Painter, 2008: 343). Sec- ondly, it intends to help the reader place the research within the wider spectrum and traditions of regional geography. The overarching goal is thus to justify the choice of the theoretical perspective I favoured in the research, i. e. the perspective of what is called new regional ge- ography. In order to understand the implications of this choice, I will present an overview of the theoretical perspectives preceding the ad- vent of new regional geography. In the second part, I will discuss some of the key concepts struc- turing the research. I will begin by clarifying and laying out the con- tent and application of the concept of identity and justifying the choice to divide it into two terms, namely objectivation and identiﬁcation. On one level, I assume that the pan-Alpine identity of local political actors is based on the common reference to a particular, objectivized regional setting, namely the Alps. On another level, the identiﬁcation with this regional setting can be a source of action and projects. Fur- thermore, I...
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