Policy governance from an autopoietic perspective: revisiting Hungary’s regionalization experience

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Faragó, László
Scott, James W.
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This perspective on Hungary’s post-socialist regional policy governance is informed by an approach that relates region-building and regional governance to social autopoiesis and the self-referential and self-(re)producing nature of social systems such as states. Following debates in regional studies that reflect tensions between the local constitution and external determination of regional governance, we will demonstrate how Hungary has incorporated European Union (EU) policy frameworks through specific appropriations of territorial politics and regional ideas. These appropriations reflect Hungary’s post-socialist transformation not only in terms of responses to global forces, but also as specific spatial practices and regionalization experiences. As we argue, this has in effect resulted in a regionalism without regions – a strategy of Europeanizing territorial politics without creating institutional structures that directly challenge existing power relations. Autopoiesis thus helps explain the resilience of social systems, not only their resistance to institutional change but also their capability to ‘domesticate’ external influences. While criticisms of Hungary’s technocratic and post-political regionalization projects cannot be ignored, our analysis indicates why externally driven intervention in self-organizing governance processes, for example through EU conditionality, has had less impact than expected.
regionalizáció , regionalizáció - Magyarország , regionális politika , társadalmi konstruktivizmus , társadalmi önfenntartás
European Planning Studies 25. 6: p. online 08 Mar. (2017) p. 1034-1052.