Since the mid-1980s - the period leading up to the Maastricht Treaty and the re-invention of the 'European Economic Community' (EEC) as 'European Union' (EU) - 'culture' has become something of a buzzword in European integration and regional planning, and at the same time a kind of battle cry for regions and groups seeking a greater measure of self-determination. For many of the so-called 'peripheral' regions, 'culture' is considered the only viable resource they have for economic development. Yet the actual concept of 'culture', as used in this context, has remained rather oblique. At the same time, neo-liberal economics has become the dominant paradigm across a wide range of cultural contexts, while the cultural contingency of that paradigm itself is being obscured.