RELATE, Research group on changing state spaces

RELATE, Centre of Excellence funded by the Academy of Finland (2014-2020).

The contemporary condition may be understood as being structured partly around “hub and flow imaginaries” and related “exceptional” spatial formations that are its constituents. In our reading, the contemporary processes associated with hubs and flows and the set of other “relational spaces” of post-Fordist urbanization do not signal a de-territorial geoeconomic condition in which the territorial state is hollowed out. Rather, these imaginaries reveal the back-and-forth nature of the contemporary state’s territoriality. At the present conjuncture, the state constantly seeks to re-territorialize, nationalize and “fix in place” the relational spaces of contemporary capitalism. But at the same time, governments seek to de-territorialize and internationalize the state through increasingly spatially selective strategies in order to be connected to all sorts of “global networks” of money, talent, innovations and ideas. Our work in this project seeks to disclose the ways in which states are spatially transformed within such a process, and how the “urbanization of the nation state” (Moisio 2018) takes place through social practices ranging from spatial planning to urban consultancy.

In this project, we interrogate the spatial transformation of states, cities and supranational political entities. We are interested in the ways in which states and cities are currently being transnationalized, and how this transformation takes place through inherited “national” welfare state structures. Empirically, we focus in particular on statist social practices of spatial planning, regional development, education and the so-called knowledge-based economy.

We are currently putting together a major research handbook titled Handbook on the changing geographies of the state: New spaces of geopolitics with Edward Elgar Publishing (under contract, expected publication in 2020).

Project members

Professor Sami Moisio, PI

Dr Salla Jokela, post-doc researcher

Dr Christopher Lizotte, post-doc researcher

Dr Juho Luukkonen, post-doc researcher

MSc Ilppo Soininvaara, PhD candidate

Example publications

  • Luukkonen, Juho (2015) Planning in Europe for ‘EU’rope: Spatial planning as a political technology of territory. Planning Theory 14(2), 174–194.
  • Luukkonen, J. & Sirviö, H. (2017) Kaupunkiregionalismi ja epäpolitisoinnin politiikka: talousmaantieteellinen imaginaari aluepoliittisten käytäntöjen vastaansanomattomana viitekohteena. Politiikka 59: 2, 114–132.
  • Moisio, S. (2018). Urbanizing the nation-state: Notes on the geopolitical growth of cities and city-regions. Urban Geography.
  • Jonas, A.E.G. & Moisio, S. (2018). City regionalism as geopolitical processes: a new framework for analysis. Progress in Human Geography 42: 3, 350–370.
  • Moisio, S. & Jonas, A.E.G. (2018). City-regions and city-regionalism. In Paasi, A. Harrison, J. & Jones, M. (eds.) Handbook on the Geographies of Regions and Territories. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham. pp. 285–297.