This monograph presents a novel typology of relational and territorial perspectives on legitimacy and identity. This typology is then applied to two different political and historical contexts, namely the trajectories of the metropolitan region Amsterdam in the Netherlands and the metropolitan region Ruhr in Germany. The historical discussion spans 500 years, providing valuable depth to the study.

Taken as a whole, the book provides a new perspective within the territorial-relational dichotomy and the geographies of discontent debate. Its key insights are that identity and political legitimacy are embedded in history and that both relational and territorial perspectives on these issues are time and place dependent.

This book will be stimulating reading for advanced students, researchers, and policymakers working in political geography, human geography, regional studies, and broader social and political sciences.

chapter 1|11 pages


Looking beyond national populism

chapter 3|16 pages

Early modernity and urban autonomy

chapter 4|20 pages

Industrial modernity

Integrating cities in the national territory

chapter 5|15 pages

Late modernity

From territorial regulation to competition

chapter 6|30 pages

Metropolitan regions

Competitiveness justifying the new institutional framework

chapter 7|30 pages

Challenging the metropolitan region

Local resistance identities

chapter 8|19 pages

The resurgence of the territorial perspective

Universal villagism and localised territorialisations

chapter 9|5 pages


The cycle of dominance of the territorial and relational perspectives