IMAJINE - Integrative Mechanisms for Addressing Spatial Justice and Territorial Inequalities in Europe


Dr. Edina Szőcsik (Project Lead for the University of Basel)
Rahel Siegrist, M.A. (Research Assistant)
Anna Akócsi (Student Assistant)

Horizon 2020 Project
Project duration 01.03.2018 – 31.12.2021

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, under Grant Agreement No. 726950.

The IMAJINE Project

Lay summary (German / French / Italian / English)

Edina Szöcsik and her team participate in the consortium of the “IMAJINE” Horizon 2020 project and have leading roles in work packages four (WP4) and seven (WP7).

The IMAJINE consortium comprises 16 participants from 13 countries:

Aberystwyth University (UK); Academia di Studii Economice din Bucuresti (RO), Harokopio University (GR), Helsingin Yliopisto (FI), Institut national de la recherché agronomique (FR), National University of Ireland Galway (IE), Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (NL), Universidad de Oviedo (ES), Università degli Studi ‘G d’Annunzio’ Chieti-Pescara (IT), University of Stirling (UK), Polish Academy of Sciences (PL), Technische Universität Dresden (DE), Universität Basel (CH), Università degli Studi di Siena (IT)


Work Package 7: Regionalist Movements and Social, Economic and Spatial Justice

Across Europe, regionalist movements claiming to represent historically, culturally, linguistically and/or economically distinct groups within the state's territory are increasingly seeking to challenge the stability and integrity of existing territorial structures of governance. In particular, regionalist parties have become enduring and influential players in regional and (in some cases) state-level political arenas. In many cases, they have been successful in achieving demands for greater self-government for their sub-state territories. In some cases, they even question the territorial framework of the state altogether by demanding independence.

The key feature of regionalist mobilisation is the pursuit of some form of 'sub-state territorial empowerment' in the name of a specific territorial group within the state's boundaries – be it referred to as a region, nation or people – which has a distinctive territorial identity (e.g. based on ethnicity, language, culture and/or traditions) and interests (economic, cultural, political, social and/or symbolic in nature). WP7 analyses how regionalist actors justify their territorial demands. It aims to study (1) the factors that influence framing strategies of regionalist actors and (2) the electoral consequences of regionalist actors’ framing strategies.

The comparative analysis of regionalist movements’ demands and framing strategies includes twelve regions across eight European states: Scotland and Wales (UK); Catalonia and Galicia (Spain); Corsica (France); Bavaria (Germany); Aosta Valley, Northern Italy and Sardinia (Italy); Friesland (Netherlands); the Kashubian minority/Kashubia (Poland); and the Hungarian minority/the Szeklerland (Romania). The analysis relies on a computer assisted qualitative content analysis of regionalist parties’ and civil society organisations’ programmatic documents within the time period 1990-2018 and interviews with the leaders of these organisations.

The project partners of WP7 are:  

Aberystwyth University (UK), Technische Universität Dresden (DE), Polish Academy of Sciences (PL), Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (NL), Università degli Studi di Siena (IT), Universität Basel (CH)


Work Package 4: Experimental Survey on Solidarity and Territorial Cohesion

WP4 explores public attitudes towards regional autonomy, territorial cohesion, solidarity and mobility in seven EU member states. Surprisingly, although territorial inequalities and cohesion policies within both countries and the EU play a key role in policy agendas, the political science literature has paid little attention to mass attitudes on these issues. By conducting an experimental survey, this work package provides original, cross-national data to produce valid causal inferences about the determinants of mass attitudes towards territorial cohesion. It complements WP7 and other work packages by unravelling citizens’ perspectives and attitudes towards territorial cohesion, solidarity and spatial justice.

The experimental survey covers seven EU member states: France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Spain. These countries have been selected on the basis of geographical and demographic features, patterns of territorial inequality and regional distinctiveness.

The project partners of WP4 are:

Aberystwyth University (UK), TNS Opinion, Università degli Studi di Siena (IT), Università degli Studi ‘G. d'Annunzio’ Chieti-Pescara (IT), Universität Basel (CH)


For more information on the IMAJINE Horizon 2020 project, visit the website:


Edina Szöcsik
Rahel Siegrist

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