Emerging from an influential critique of architecture, critical regionalism offers cultural studies scholars a framework through which to interrogate the increasingly problematic concept of region. In the face of globalisation, how might the idea of the local – the regional – still exist? How are given versions of region disrupted and displaced, re-articulated and re-assembled, and what causes and effects do these actions wreak? What is sought here is a different conception of region – one which not only accounts for these disruptions and displacements but actively seeks them out and presents new versions of region. Much has been written on globalisation, on imperialism and colonialism, and on regionalism itself; critical regionalism seeks and offers new ways in which we can conceive of the local as it interacts with the global and the implications of such an exchange; a new configuration of analytical and discursive techniques with which to examine the transnational.
The internet provides a place which epitomises the goals of critical regionalism; at once fixed yet transient, a site of critical exchange and dialogue unhindered by borders, boundaries and frontiers – and yet aware of their persistence; which blurs the lines of local, regional, national and international yet is alert and responsible to all of these distinctions.
And so, the aim here is to foster the critical exchange and dialogue intrinsic to critical regionalism, providing a proving ground for ideas and analysis driven by a spirit of co-operation and collegiality; to encourage expansion of the framework outwards from its basis in architecture, into – and beyond – a cultural studies perspective. To create a repository of knowledge on the subject and a depository for work which draws upon this knowledge; a bricolage of discourse and analysis which challenges anew the effects of culture, geography, history and politics as they interact with our senses of space and place.
Key notions for this project are the processive or rhizomatic approach and range of ideas we wish to encourage, and the potential and possibility for expanding the field of critical regionalism as a toolkit to be used in different ways and with different materials.