Beyond devolution and decentralisation

Beyond devolution and decentralisation: Building regional capacity in Wales and Brittany

Alistair Cole
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Beyond devolution and decentralisation
    Book Description:

    Beyond devolution and decentralisation compares the politics, policies and polity-building dynamics of devolution in Wales and decentralisation in the French region of Brittany. Empirically, the book draws conclusions from in-depth fieldwork within two regions and reports the findings of a comparative public opinion survey. Theoretically, it contributes towards our understanding of the comparative study of regions. Perhaps most impressive is how the case studies generally are based on, but also cast light back, to the nuanced theoretical framework on regional capacity established at the outset. The book uncovers the dynamics of devolution in Wales and decentralisation in Brittany through extensive face to face interviews: over 200 interviews were carried out from 2001 to 2004, a formative stage in the development of the devolved institutions in Wales and a period of expectation in Brittany as well. The book will be of interest to the professional research community and to practitioners in Britain, France and beyond, as well as to students on comparative politics, British/Welsh politics, French politics, European studies and public policy courses.

    eISBN: 978-1-84779-210-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of tables
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
    Alistair Cole
  5. 1 Regional capacity building in Europe
    (pp. 1-17)

    Much of the devolution debate in Wales has centred upon the uniqueness of Welsh constitutional arrangements and political traditions. There has been a strong temptation to resort to a form of Welsh exceptionalism to explain the emergence of the new Welsh quasi-polity. A comparative dimension facilitates a just appreciation of what really is distinctive within Wales and which trends are more generally applicable in similar regions. InBeyond Devolution and Decentralisation, the intention has been to deepen the understanding of processes of comparative regional governance by investigating two highly distinctive regions (Wales and Brittany) in two neighbouring European Union states...

  6. 2 Comparing France and the United Kingdom
    (pp. 18-39)

    Beyond Devolution and Decentralisationis inspired by a long tradition of Franco-British comparison (Lagroye and Wright, 1979; Ashford, 1982; Cole and John, 2001). Whether they are defined in terms of legal frameworks, state traditions or political culture, the UK and France have represented distinctive liberal democratic poles. These two states share sufficient traits in common, however, to make comparison meaningful. In his conceptual map of Europe, Rokkan identified three types of European state: the strong empire-nations of the Atlantic west; the economically weaker states of the eastern plains; and the states of the imperial central Europe, unified only in the...

  7. 3 Wales and Brittany: history, politics, society
    (pp. 40-61)

    The choice of Wales and Brittany to form the core of a comparative case study presents two historic regions with complex but strong identities. Insofar as their quality as regions is concerned, the mix of similarity and difference makes the Wales-Brittany pair a good one for comparative analysis, fulfilling the criteria of comparability in terms of spatial location, population size, economic activity, linguistic specificity and common historical ties. The Wales-Brittany comparison was designed to elucidate similar political and policy challenges in specific regional and national contexts. As outlined in Chapter 1, the overarching research question was that of building regional...

  8. 4 Devolution and polity building in Wales
    (pp. 62-86)

    Much of the devolution debate in Wales has centred upon the uniqueness of Welsh constitutional arrangements and political traditions. Several features set the Wales case apart from those in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the English Regions. Wales had a history of limited administrative devolution from 1964 to 1999. While Scotland retained its separate legal and educational systems, Wales was routinely considered, for legislative and political purposes, either as part of England or as the junior partner in an indissoluble couple. Neither Scotland nor Wales is comparable to Northern Ireland, where the historical experience of devolved institutions runs much deeper, but...

  9. 5 Decentralisation and political capacity building in Brittany
    (pp. 87-111)

    This chapter addresses the theme of decentralisation and political capacity building in Brittany. Venturing inside the Brittany regional council provides an opportunity to investigate the functioning of the region as a political institution, and to explore the theme of public policy-making within Brittany. It will be argued that the influence of the French regions (and Brittany in particular) is tied up with interdependent policy-making and the quality of horizontal and vertical relationships. The chapter’s conclusion will focus upon the regional political space and the constraints and opportunities faced by governors in Brittany.

    There are a number of institutional features common...

  10. 6 Political institutions, public and elite opinions in Wales and Brittany
    (pp. 112-136)

    The choice of Wales and Brittany as objects of analysis provided two historic regions with complex but strong identities, functioning regional political institutions and past traditions of demanding more regional autonomy. These regions are exceptional within France and the UK. Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5 introduced the reader to Wales and Brittany, their respective state contexts, party systems and experience of devolved political institutions. Thus far, a mostly inductive, qualitative approach has been adopted, emphasising diversity and complexity, an approach well adapted to a broader interest in regional governance (Kooiman, 2003). Chapter 6 undertakes a rather different intellectual exercise,...

  11. 7 Policy communities, public policy and policy learning in Wales and Brittany
    (pp. 137-160)

    In Chapter 1 it was argued that relationships and coalitions are vital in understanding sub-national politics and administration. A direct linkage between modes of regional governance and the internal quality of regional relationships was posited. While good horizontal (and vertical) relationships can increase governing capacity, negative-sum inter-organisational rivalries can have a detrimental effect on the quality of policy outputs. The use of community implies regular personal relationships and shared values. If policy networks represent new forms of policy-making to deal with the complexity of modern governance, it was argued, the metaphor of community best captures the close personal linkages between...

  12. 8 Regional political capacity in Wales and Brittany
    (pp. 161-179)

    This book set out to deepen the understanding of processes of comparative regional governance by investigating two historic regions (Wales and Brittany) in two neighbouring European Union states. Chapter 1 presented a theoretical framework based on regional political capacity, defined as an interactive process encompassing institutions and institutional processes, actors and their relationships, socially constructed identities and forms of overarching regulation (Kooiman, 2003; Le Galès, 2002; Loughlin, 2001; Keating, 1998). The framework for analysis combines criteria drawn from institutions (and political opportunity structures), relationships, identities and regulation (Cole, 2004). Next, a set of concluding evaluative judgements about regional governance in...

  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 180-191)
  14. Index
    (pp. 192-198)