Territorial cohesion through spatial policies: An analysis with cultural theory and clumsy solutions

Thomas Hartmann, Andreas Hengstermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The European Territorial Cohesion Policy has been the subject of numerous debates in recent years. Most contributions focus on understanding the term itself and figuring out what is behind it, or arguing for or against a stronger formal competence of the European Union in this field. This article will leave out these aspects and pay attention to (undefined and legally non-binding) conceptual elements of territorial cohesion, focusing on the challenge of linking it within spatial policies and organising the relations. Therefore, the theoretical approach of Cultural Theory and its concept of clumsy solution are applied to overcome the dilemma of typical dichotomies by adding a third and a fourth (but not a fifth) perspective. In doing so, normative contradictions between different rational approaches can be revealed, explained and approached with the concept of 'clumsy solutions'. This contribution aims at discussing how this theoretical approach helps us explain and frame a coalition between the Territorial Cohesion Policy and spatial policies. This approach contributes to finding the best way of linking and organising policies, although the solution might be clumsy according to the different rationalities involved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-49
Number of pages20
JournalCentral European Journal of Public Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cultural theory
  • Planning theory
  • Policy analysis
  • Public policy
  • Spatial planning
  • Territorial cohesion


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