The two inter-related concepts of core and periphery are widely used in historical and social science analysis. The concepts are inherently relational as one implies the presence of the other. Relations between the core and periphery have played a major role in the evolution of economic and political power structures at a global level, within empires, continents and nation states. Europe’s first nation states were moulded by strong cores spreading their writ to surrounding geographical areas. The centre-periphery cleavage was identified by Lipset and Rokkan as one of the four key cleavages that dominated state formation and the emergence of party systems in Europe (Lipset and Rokkan, 1967). Deutsch et al identified the ‘cores of strength’ around which nation states were built (Deutsch et al, 1956). Rokkan and Urwin in their work on territorial politics in Europe’s peripheries concluded that peripheral regions shared three characteristics, namely, they were geographically distant, culturally different and economically dependent on the core regions (Rokkan and Urwin, 1983, 13). Scholars of European integration and the actors who forged the early Union, were attentive to the challenge of economic divergence in Europe, particularly the Mezzogiorno (the impoverished south of Italy), in the original EU of six member states. That challenge came to the fore as the iterative process of enlargement brought a north-western, Mediterranean and eastern periphery into the Union beginning with the first enlargement in 1973. In fact, all enlargements, with the exception of the EFTA enlargement of the mid-1990s, were characterised by new member states whose level of economic development was below that of the core. It was for that reason that the Union developed cohesion policy and a set of related policy instruments.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
- The Eurozone in Crisis: Core-Periphery Dynamics
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number
- Chapter 7