Norway and the others

February 23, 1996

EUROPEAN URBAN AND REGIONAL STUDIES Edited by David Sadler Longman, quarterly, Pounds 58.00 (individuals), Pounds 97.00 (institutions) ISSN 0969 7764

This new journal has very ambitious aims. It intends to cover a geographical region from the Atlantic to the Commonwealth of Independent States and from the Arctic Ocean to the Mediterranean. Its themes are as broad as its geographical cover. It will offer "critical reviews of a full range of issues" including integration, fragmentation and marginalisation, global economic and political shifts, industrial change, regional development strategies, employment and labour markets, conceptualisations of the service sector, gender and its relationship to place and space, ethnicity and race, housing problems and policies, political and social regulation.

Its first five issues have lived up to this promise with a series of authoritative and informative articles on the United Kingdom, the old East Germany, Norway, Ireland, Central and Eastern Europe, Southern Europe and the European Union as a whole. Though one might quibble about two articles on Norway plus a smaller piece on Norway when there are no critical reviews focusing on France or Italy.

The themes in those articles that are not specifically regional are a very mixed bag with no real sense of attacking issues in any order of priority. The emigration of Irish migrants, the European automobile industry, telematics in rural development and a review of welfare and gender are all interesting but would easily find a home in any number of geography, planning and regional policy journals. If one sets a very wide geographical stage and lets loose a large number of themes there is a real danger of lack of coherence and identity. The journal will certainly find no shortage of material for publication, and high quality material at that, but it might well find a shortage of readers who are already very well served by Regional Studies, now almost 30 years old, and with a reputation for quality and innovation.

Many of the articles in EURS look just like articles from Regional Studies. There is also an overlap of authors and material. The August 1995 issue of Regional Studies has Diane Perrons on "Gender inequalities in regional development" and an issue of EURS in the same year has Diane Perrons on "Economic strategies, welfare regimes and gender inequality in employment in the European Union".

EURS is playing on a very crowded field. This is not a problem if a new journal does something different, but this is not yet the case with EURS. I have a problem with a European journal published in English. The articles are entirely in English and do not carry German, French, Spanish, Russian or Italian abstracts. This is a shame. The journal will serve a genuinely international but small group of academics. It cannot serve the very large audience of practitioners who operate in their own language (especially in Russia and Eastern Europe), and it cannot engage in dialogue with them.

All this represents wasted opportunity. There is space for a new journal that strikes out on a different course in an important area. EURS has not yet established its identity and is still searching for this different course. I hope it succeeds.

John Whitelegg is director, Eco-Logica Ltd, Lancaster.

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