Towards a territorial political capacity approach for studying European regions

Alistair Mark Cole*, Jean Baptiste Paul Harguindéguy, Romain Pasquier, Ian Stafford, Christian de Visscher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This article proposes a framework for studying the territorial political capacity of regions in Europe. The proposed framework identifies three main dimensions of territorial political capacity. Mainly material indicators include institutions and institutional resources. Mixed material and constructed indicators centre on causal mechanisms of party and leadership capacity. Mainly constructed indicators are drawn from territorial praxis. Understanding a region requires combining different levels of analysis and distinctive ways of knowing; broad-based (quasi-statistical) variables facilitate comparison, while the focus on resilience and capacity requires primary data collection, drilling down into the practices of comparable panels of actors. This article discusses this framework in relation to four European regions that were the object of empirical investigation in 2012–2014: namely Brittany (France), Andalusia (Spain), Wallonia (Belgium) and Wales (United Kingdom). It contributes to the conceptualization of comparative territorial capacity, in a manner distinct from, but largely consistent with the Regional Authority Index.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-284
Number of pages24
JournalRegional and Federal Studies
Issue number2
Early online date22 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

User-Defined Keywords

  • capacity
  • comparison
  • decentralisation
  • Devolution
  • Europe
  • regions


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