Historical Social Research

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Christoph Bernhardt: Governance, Statehood, and Space in 20th Century Political Struggles. An Introduction. [Abstract]

The article explores the potential of the concepts of governance and scaling for the analysis of the spatial dimensions of 20th century political struggles. Selected questions from three strands of cross-disciplinary research – scales of political agency as discussed by critical geographers, patterns of Multilevel Governance (MLG) as analysed by political scientists, and conflicts in various political regimes of the 20th century as studied be historians – are addressed. The article starts by briefly examining some core concepts in these three fields and discusses some recent trends in debates on spatial theory as discussed by the historical disciplines. The following sections of the article address scalar strategies and governance in the authoritarian states of National Socialism and the socialist system of the GDR, governance problems of federalism in Western countries, key aspects of the “age of planning” in the middle of the 20th century and problems of global environmental governance. Finally, questions of knowledge formation in the field of European integration are discussed. In the conclusion some main results of the Forum are highlighted and an agenda for further historical research on problems of governance and scaling is given.

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