Contesting European regions. Regional Studies. A regional or ‘meso’-level of regulation and policy-making has emerged in Europe. This cannot adequately be explained by functional imperatives or drivers. A constructivist perspective sees the region as the outcome of political contestation over the definition and meaning of territory. Six competing conceptual frames for regionalism are proposed: integrative; competitive; welfare; identity; government; and the region as a refraction of social and economic interests. Any given case will reflect a balance among these conceptions. Such an understanding permits a combination of comparative analysis with an understanding of individual cases and avoids both dismissal of territory and territorial determinism.