James W. Scott elected as honorary member of the IX. Section of Economics and Law of HAS

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The Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) elected Professor James W. Scott as an honorary member of the IX. Section of Economics and Law during its 195th general assembly on May 3, 2022, and he held his inaugural lecture on October 5, 2022. Professor Scott is a leading international figure in the field of border studies and one of the most respected leaders of cross-border research projects in the European Union.

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James W. Scott has been an external colleague at the Institute for Regional Studies of the ELKH Centre for Economic and Regional Studies (KRTK RKI) since 2013. Professor Scott was born in 1956 in Oakland, California. He holds a PhD from the Free University of Berlin (Freie Universität Berlin). Since 2008, he has been professor at the Itä-Suomen yliopisto / University of Eastern Finland in Joensuu. He specializes in urban and regional geography, borders, border regions, geopolitics, regional and urban governance, Cohesion Policy, and Central European studies. He has coordinated several research consortia focused on border studies that were supported by EU Framework Programs, the European Science Foundation, the Finnish Academy, and other sources. Presently, he is scientific coordinator of the Horizon2020 project RELOCAL that investigates the role of the local level and local strategies in Cohesion and Territorial Development. The number of publications he has in Scopus is 72, of which 21 are Q1 and 10 D1. His citation quote is outstanding in his field, 947 in Scopus, his H-index is 16 and 2954 in Google Scholar. He is a leading international figure in the field of border studies and one of the most respected leaders of cross-border research projects in the European Union. Professor Scott is head of the Border Research Group supported by the President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and is an active participant in the OTKA projects of IRS. Iván Bélyácz, József Benedek, Ilona Pálné Kovács and Tamás Szentes were the promoters of his honorary membership in the IX. Section of Economics and Law of HAS.

He held his inaugural lecture on October 5, 2022, in the small conference hall of the main building of HAS with the title Looking at Regionalization – and what we can learn from it? Regionalization was an influential paradigm of territorial politics that emerged with the global transformations of the late 20th century. While it was a rather complex idea, the basic premise was this: in order to manage globalization, nation-states would need to ‘re-scale’ territorial administration and privilege ‘the region’ by creating intermediary levels of governance between existing formal units. This idea was supported by the increasing global importance of city-regions and global cities, which were understood to be more dynamic, flexible and effective than nation states in promoting growth. Supporters of regionalization included the EU, the World Bank, the IMF and many influential think-tanks. In practice, region-building projects have been realized in numerous European and North and South American countries at various scales and with different development aims. However, since its heyday in the early 2000s, regionalization has led a very quiet and modest existence. Many ‘project regions’ created during periods of reform and experimentation have been reduced to planning units of the state and possess little strategic agency. Was regionalization thus a failure? Why did regionalization lose its political momentum? Is there anything we can learn from this experiment in territorial politics? Based on international comparisons and Hungary’s own regionalization process in particular, Mr Scott has identified some of the lessons to emerge from more than three decades of region-building.