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From Spaces of Places

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Without doubt, Joachim Blatter oversees that with the uprising dynamics of technology, he is not the only one who foresees that the network society is rising from nowhere to some space of flows.[i] These drastic and evolving changes have led the researchers to ask themselves empirical questions that have led to debate over time. It is questionable as to whether the multiplication of stages of governance as conferred to the federalism version is leading to a progression of deterritorialization where associations of supremacy currently are remarkably unbundling into more of a functionally differentiated system with variable and fuzzy government scales. Another, query that is being posed to the extent that the significant transformations from the government to the governance sector and the inclusion of actors of both from private and non-profit sectors in organizations, mainly of cross border superiority could go, besides the ties and mechanisms that do hold the actors involved together.

Blatter in his article seeks to give answers to the questions that arise due to the technological changes that take place. Indeed, he portrays how the answers are empirical evidence from Western Europe and North American borderlands as they seek to give more clarifications that are more relevant to the question that individuals always ask themselves. Border regions obviously need justification as they are seen as the peripheral parts of the state territory and not the precursors of ‘glocalization’ process. This is not the case as currently many borders are not peripheral as they are continuously achieving economic prosperity that is above the national average level. This is as a result of the decrease in the significance of the nation-state that has led to the prevalent increase in the relevance of the region. In addition, the global cities are taking over the national environment as it becomes globally linked. As a result, dramatic changes as the forces of transnational integration and domestic decentralization as elements of glocalization are competing for dominance of national administration as it seeks to govern the regions that cross over the borders.

Instrumental and identity-providing institutions have become one of the most significant elements of differentiation. According to functionalist and rationalist theories, they assume that there is an objective interdependence that exists between institutions and social actors, which serve specific purposes. Indeed, the ritual of representation has overseen activities that create mutual obligations with no specific purpose among the group members. As political institutions, are seen to be symbolic actions that considerably have influence upon political actors. However, these symbols do not seek to go contrary to the rules as it seeks to give correct information but to ensure that it stimulate emotion and empathy and reduce ambiguity rather than uncertainty as accorded to rules. Blatter therefore, clearly points out that for individual and social welfare to be attained instrumental institutions should ensure that includes all actors and pertinent resources.

Transformation in the supremacy is to shift from to the territory centered to function centered as it moves from ‘space of place’ to a ‘space of flows.’ This is as a result of a network that is dominant in cases of being nearly decomposable is non-existent. Considerably, this networks and hierarchies have a difference in terms of their structure of interaction that arises from two dimensions. These two dimensions comprise of the interterritorial and intersectoral dimensions that design the structure of an ideal type. However, the existence of the two dimensions could make the structure blurred as direct contacts between the subnational actors of various types and inclusion of non-public-sector organization existing in trans-boundary institutions. Territorial and functional governance that exists have gotten different features and task performance.

Ideal types of cross-border political institutions according to Blatter should be analyzed from their own dimensions and distinguished. These types of institutions include commissions, connection, coalitions and consociation.

Commissions are usually characterized by a scientific, technical, or judicial approach so as to reduce cases of cross -border issues and disputes. This institution is liberal as there are national delegations and votes as members of a commission. Its national boundaries determine the geographic area of cooperation as it acts as an all-purpose institution that performs many tasks. Leading members in a commission include experts in the field of law and engineering as they seek to find appropriate measures and projects based on scientific-technical knowledge. Connection significantly helps in overcoming obstacles that could readily hinder the exploitation of positive and negative externalities and synergies. Blatter explains how connection the information that is being conveyed does not show the objective necessity that brings out coordinated action but does not reduce the transaction costs at all. As a result, it does not involve typical experts but involve the brokers who could either be planners and developers.

Coalition as a cross-border political institution is not of objective necessity, this is because political actors arrange to join forces together in dispute or in conflict with another political actor and therefore, does not choose partners based on interdependence. Coalitions are extremely characterized as individuals with shared belief and common values as they move together dominated by the same motive. This links include horizontal linkages between the various partners in a geographical region. Consociation influences individual behaviors through symbolizing ideas with identities and images that cross-border political community. This cooperation that exists seeks to influence people’s identity in a holistic and affective way. Indeed, the four types of cross-border political institution have been pointed out in a vast number of nations the European Union is not an exception. These countries include the Upper Rhine Valley, California, Lake Constance region and Cascadia.

Blatter explains that the cause of the differences between Europe and North America is as a result of deterritorialization. This is extremely seen through the sectors that make up institution in Europe is purely intergovernmental and complemented by institutionalized meetings of legislators. Whereas in North America institutions, are more open to direct involvement of private and non-profit actors. In addition, institutions in Europe share a common geographical definition in border regions. However, in North America, there is no congruence between the various institutions thus leads to general overlaps. In terms of the goals and tasks, European has developed encompassing programs and activities that exist in many policy fields whereas, in North America, there is similar broad aspiration that have to narrow down to suit the activity.  With respect to temporal stability, Europeans has commissions that do not contrast so much with those in North America. In Europe, the vision is holistic and multifunctional as compared to North America that has bioregional concepts.

In order to look at the empirical study case, Blatter makes it quite obvious that we have to overcome unspecified notions like the territorial differences towards functioning, and thereafter, we look at a specific tie and links that are crucial for defining the new instruction of governance based on the common space of flows.  Blatter explains that the two borders of North America have created social cohesion and built political institutions through material flow and flow of ideas. Blatter clearly illustrates that high performances in the specific fields outweigh the total failure in terms of cross-border cooperation. It is therefore, logical according to Blatter to conclude that Europe and North America are through the trend of glocalization.

I correspond with Blatter views, opinion, and clear explanation that with the uprising dynamics of technology, he foresees that the network society is rising from nowhere to some space of flows. As a result of space flows in politics, there is an uprising significant mobilizing capacity with tremendous transformational powers. Significantly, it is true that today the government has become governance as a result of the transition. I also concur with Blatter that the political systems are adjusting to changes in technical and socioeconomic features of natural imperatives.

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