ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

How the Autonomy Demands and Statutes of Territorial Communities Arise and Evolve: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Sub-State Restructuring in Western Europe

Comparative Politics
Federalism
Governance
Government
Institutions
Regionalism
Christoph Niessen
Université catholique de Louvain
Christoph Niessen
Université catholique de Louvain

Abstract

For over half a century now, states in Western Europe have faced an intense restructuring of their territorial organization, both from above and below. Below, this restructuring followed a functional logic of devolution in some places, while it was driven by identity dynamics in others. Furthermore, once in place, multi-level institutions evolved towards more or less centralization and many still do. Despite an overall tendency towards greater decentralization, both its demand and supply vary hugely across states and territorial communities – not only in degree but also in kind. While some territorial communities (1) demanded and obtained a formal autonomy statute, others (2) demanded but did not obtain autonomy, (3) did not demand but obtained autonomy, or (4) neither demanded nor obtained autonomy. This paper seeks to explore the determinants of these four scenarios with a qualitative comparative fuzzy-set analysis of Western European states from different contexts of sub-state restructuring. By comparing territorial communities’ autonomy demands and statutes with several structural and agency-based factors over time, the paper investigates under which conditions the autonomy (a) demands and (b) statutes of territorial communities (i) came into existence (or not) and (ii) under which they evolved? In doing so, the research aims at evaluating and refining existing theories of regional and federal studies, as well as at contributing to the growing debate about the evolution of regional self-governance (Hooghe et al., 2016a; 2016b) and dynamic (de)centralization (Dardanelli et al., 2018a; 2018b).