The subnational region: A utopia? The challenge of governing through soft power

IGI Global
Publication Type:
Handbook of Research on Sub-National Governance and Development, 2017, pp. 96 - 115
Issue Date:
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Most states worldwide possess two or three levels of government, from national to provincial and localities. Subnational governing arrangements are emerging in response to widespread decentralization, globalization, and urbanization, with this level increasingly considered the ideal spatial scale for effectively harnessing governing capacity. Yet regional governing arrangements often lack the traditional statutory and administrative governing tools of the state. Instead, they tend to rely on voluntary co-ordination and co-operation. Emboldened with more traditional governing tools, provincial and local states can work against these networks to protect their own power. This case study of Sydney, Australia, examines the dimensions of hard and soft power in a regional governing network and the role of provincial and local actors in determining the prospects for regional governance. In the absence of state-like mechanisms of hard power, the soft power on which regional governing networks rely will likely remain inferior for the governing task
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