Territory, power and statecraft : understanding English devolution

Sarah Ayres*, Matthew Flinders, Mark Sandford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)
490 Downloads (Pure)


In recent decades, the devolution of power to subnational regional authorities has formed a key element of what has been termed the ‘unravelling’ or ‘unbundling’ of the state in many parts of the world. Even in the United Kingdom, with its distinctive global reputation as a power-hoarding majoritarian democracy, the devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland since 1998 can be located within this broader devolutionary dynamic. In recent years, this process has focused on ‘the English question’ and a reform agenda that claimed to offer a ‘devolution revolution’. This paper offers the first research-led analysis of the scope, scale and implications of these post-2015 reforms to English governance. It utilizes Jim Bulpitt’s statecraft approach to explore the changing nature of centre–periphery relationships within England. The main conclusion has been that a ‘rhetoric–reality gap’ currently exists and a ‘devolution revolution’ has not occurred.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-864
Number of pages12
JournalRegional Studies
Issue number6
Early online date7 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2018

Structured keywords

  • PolicyBristol


  • devolution
  • England
  • governance
  • Jim Bulpitt
  • power
  • statecraft


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