Modernist social and political theory long predicted the end of territorial differentiation, within the nation-state and then beyond it. Yet territorial politics has, in many ways, become more important in recent decades. This has not produced a new and definitive spatial order but, rather, a rescaling of different economic, social and political systems above and below the state. Understanding these processes requires a constructivist view of territory, not as a fixed, topological concept, but rather as a more open-ended and sociological concept. Regions have emerged as important political spaces across Europe, but they have multiple meanings and spatial forms. The region remains a contested domain and its origins and shape cannot be explained by functional determinism but rather by competition among social and political interests and visions.