Europeanizing Territoriality - Towards Soft Spaces?
This paper explores the coexistence of relational and territorial spaces—soft spaces—through the experiences of EU integration and territorialization. First, we seek a better understanding of EU integration through an engagement with the literature and research on soft spaces. We propose that EU integration is best understood as involving an interplay between territorial and relational understandings and approaches that vary through time, a variation that can be categorized as involving pooled territoriality, supraterritoriality, and nonterritoriality. Second, we seek to add to the current research and literature on soft spaces by focusing upon the changing character of soft spaces and their temporalities. We approach these two dimensions through an exploration of two ex post case studies, the development of which typically shows different stages of softening, hardening, and of differing degrees of Europeanization. With the focus on Europeanization, the paper concludes with three findings: the new spaces of European territoriality are characterized by, first, temporal dynamics, second, their parallel existence with ‘hard’ spaces, and, finally, they can be employed as a political tool.