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A Tale of Two Regionalisms: Improving the Measurement of Regionalism in Australia and Beyond

  • Year: 2014
  • Author: A. J. Browna & Jacob Deem
  • Journal Name: Regional Studies
  • Country: Australia

Studies of regional identification are integral to the role of regionalism in political development, but how does one study regionalism when subnational political scales and regional political culture may be out of alignment? This question is tackled using Australia, a federation theorized as having possibly hit a regionalization 'ceiling effect', but which empirical study using a moderate relational approach shows to have not one regionalism but two within its political culture: formal 'state-regionalism' reflected in its federal system and a more organic 'region-regionalism' only thinly reflected in political structure, albeit apparently still consistent with federalism. Both are identified as politically salient and reflected in institutional preferences, but as also reinforcing debates that regionalization from a devolutionary perspective is far from complete, as manifested in citizen support for new regional government. The results better inform reform debates and provide departure points for research.

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