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Territory and Power: Critiques and Reassessments of a Classic Work

  • Jonathan Bradbury and Peter John


This introduction to the special issue provides an exploration of the scholarly analysis of Jim Bulpitt's Territory and Power in the United Kingdom: An Interpretation. It first addresses the principal theoretical concerns and the historical interpretation that Bulpitt pursued in Territory and Power. It discusses the main lines of criticism that have been laid against the book and how in turn these have been rebutted. The article then assesses how the contributions made in this special issue provide fresh reflection on the book's contribution to the study of UK and comparative politics before suggesting how Territory and Power could shape the agenda of future research.



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1 The authors thank the APSA British Politics Group for accepting this panel for the annual meeting, and they are grateful to the participants for such a stimulating discussion. The authors also thank Alan Ware for commissioning ECPR's reissue of the book, which indirectly led to the idea for the panel.

2 Jim Bulpitt, Territory and Power in the United Kingdom: An Interpretation, reissued edn, Colchester, ECPR Press, 2008, pp. 25–55.

3 Ibid., p. 59 (original emphasis).

4 Ibid., p. 61.

5 Ibid., pp. 62–9.

6 Ibid., p. 64.

7 Ibid., p. 68.

8 Ibid., pp. 120–41.

9 For further discussion of these criticisms and references on their origins see Peter John, ‘New Introduction: Territory and Power and the Study of Comparative Politics’, in Bulpitt, Territory and Power, pp. 1–16, revised for European Political Science, 8 (2009), pp. 428–42; and Bradbury, Jonathan, ‘ Territory and Power Revisited: Theorising Territorial Politics in the United Kingdom After Devolution’, Political Studies, 54: 3 (2006), pp. 559–82.

10 Rod Rhodes, Beyond Westminster and Whitehall, London, Unwin Hyman, 1988, pp. 31–2.

11 Stoker, Gerry, ‘Intergovernmental Relations’, Public Administration, 73 (1995), pp. 101–22; Jones, George, ‘The Crisis in British Central–Local Relationships’, Governance, 1: 2 (1988), pp. 162–84.

12 See, for example, Bogdanor, Vernon, Devolution in the United Kingdom, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1999 ; and Aughey, Arthur, Nationalism, Devolution and the Challenge to the United Kingdom State, London, Pluto, 2001 .

13 Bevir, Mark and Rhodes, Rod, Interpreting British Governance, Routledge, London, 2003, p. 77 .

14 Bradbury, ‘Territory and Power Revisited’, pp. 563–6.

15 Bulpitt, Territory and Power, pp. 19–21.

16 Bradbury, ‘Territory and Power Revisited’, pp. 566–73.

17 Simon Bulmer, Martin Burch, Catriona Carter, Patricia Hogwood and Andrew Scott, British Devolution and European Policy Making: Transforming Britain into Multi-Level Governance, Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2002; David Marsh, David Richards and Martin Smith, Changing Patterns of Governance in the United Kingdom, Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2001.

18 Bradbury, ‘Territory and Power Revisited’, pp. 573–9.

19 John, ‘New Introduction’, p. 15.

20 Bradbury, ‘Territory and Power Revisited’, p. 563; see Bulpitt, Territory and Power, p. 58.

21 John, ‘New Introduction’, p. 15.

22 Paul Pierson and Theda Skocpol (eds), The Transformation of American Politics: Activist Government and the Rise of Conservatism, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2007; Bulpitt, Territory and Power, p. 161ff.

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Territory and Power: Critiques and Reassessments of a Classic Work

  • Jonathan Bradbury and Peter John


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