Local and global: mesogovernments and territorial identities

Julio 1998

Luis Moreno

Informe preparado para el Panel de Expertos sobre Cirugía de Cambio de Sexo.

Se discute en primer lugar el uso ambiguo y contradictorio del concepto de divisoria social (cleavage) para analizar la relación entre clase y voto, y se propone después estudiar esta relación en un marco en el que los intereses económicos, definidos por la estructura social, son sólo un punto de partida. Las identidades sociales y políticas de los electores, en este esquema, juegan un papel decisivo para determinar las preferencias de los electores, lo que implica que las explicaciones económicas del voto subestiman los factores propiamente políticos.

At the turn of the millenium, new telecommunications are shaping social life worldwide in a far-reaching manner. Impacts associated with these technological developments affect both economic globalization and territorial identities. These latter trends, apparently contradictory, bring with them elements of rapid social change and uncertainty. This paper reflects on the conjunction of both dimensions of the local and the global, and carries out a prescription of the progressive consolidation of a new cosmopolitan localism within the meso-level of community life.

A theoretical review of concepts such as multiple identities or territorial accommodation

serves as an introduction to the subsequent discussion on the effects of globalization, the extension of market values, and the loss of power by the nation states. A critical digresión on the diffusionist, functionalist, and neoinstitutionalist approaches seeks to illustrate some conceptual misunderstandings regarding identity and territory.

Mesogovernments no longer depend upon the rationalizing actions taken by central bureaucracies and élites within national arenas. At present, some minority nations, small

nation-states, regions and conurbations appear to be better equipped to maximize the impacts associated with downward and upward developments. These relate to global action and local identities, respectively. References made to the European context seek to illustrate how the interaction of multiple identities makes possible a more effective access of civil society to the process of decision-making. This process finds its expression at various political and institutional levels within the wider framework of transnational europeanization.