University of Oulu

Anssi Paasi & Jonathan Metzger (2017) Foregrounding the region, Regional Studies, 51:1, 19-30, DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2016.1239818

Foregrounding the region

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Author: Paasi, Anssi1; Metzger, Jonathan2
Organizations: 1Department of Geography, University of Oulu, Linnanmaa, Finland
2Division of Urban and Regional Studies, School of Architecture and the Built Environment, KTH – Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2017
Publish Date: 2017-03-30


This paper scrutinizes the everlasting but transforming significance of the concept of region for regional studies and social practice. After tracing the changing meanings of this category, it highlights one characteristic aspect of the progress of the academic conceptualizations of the region: recurrent iterations of critiques regarding various forms of essentialism and fetishism. The main focus then moves to the conceptualization of the region and the articulation of ideas about what regions substantially ‘are’ and ‘do’, and what makes the region a worthy object of attention (scholarly or otherwise). The paper concludes with a discussion about the implications of the perspective on regions developed in the article for the future of regional studies.

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Series: Regional studies
ISSN: 0034-3404
ISSN-E: 1360-0591
ISSN-L: 0034-3404
Volume: 51
Issue: 1
Pages: 19 - 30
DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2016.1239818
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Funding: Anssi Paasi thanks the Academy of Finland for funding the RELATE Center of Excellence [project number 272168].
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 272168
Detailed Information: 272168 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.