Self-organisation of society by scale: a spatial reworking of regulation theory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


The scaling of social systems gives rise to a ‘vertical’ ordering that combines with the more familiar ‘horizontal’ ordering by place. But so far this phenomenon has been examined mainly from a political standpoint, and has not as yet received an adequate regulationist treatment. The regulation approach is at heart a systems theory, whereby innovations in accumulation and regulation - whatever their origins - will tend to be selected and woven into a stable pattern if they contribute to the expanded reproduction of capital. It is argued here that the viability of regimes of accumulation, and of modes of regulation, depends in part upon whether an appropriate scale division of labour is established between their component activities. It is suggested from the analysis that it is possible on this basis to develop a regulationist account of the fundamental tendency towards the integration and division of societies at different scales, and the emergence of dominant societal units in each epoch.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-574
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1999


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-organisation of society by scale: a spatial reworking of regulation theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this