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Utveckling, konkurrens och möjliga framtider: En studie om görandet av hållbarhet i regional utvecklingspolitik
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Political, Historical, Religious and Cultural Studies (from 2013).
2024 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Development, Competition and Possible Futures : A Study of the Making of Sustainability in Regional Development Policy (English)
Abstract [en]

Regional development policy has been devoted to tackling global competition for decades. This governmental rationality puts growth objectives at the heart of development and Swedish regions have channelled their efforts into building attractiveness and supporting market differentiation. This competitive orientation has been accompanied by a collaborative approach, rather than by political debate over competing ideological positions. Since the early 2020s, a new direction for regional development has begun to evolve as the Swedish government is changing its regional policy from regional growth to sustainable regional development. 

By using Carol Bacchi’s critical policy approach (WPR), this thesis explores how sustainability is represented in recent regional development policy and whether these problem representations create room for other conceptualisations of development or open up space for what Chantal Mouffe describes as the political to re-enter the policy field. The study draws on fieldwork comprising interviews, policy documents and observations. 

The thesis shows that regional development is changing into a broader and more societal-oriented field as a result of the sustainability efforts, but the major problem representations identified in the policy proposals produce sustainability as a problem of outdated methods, silo-based organisation and a lack of innovative tools. Aspects such as climate change, inequality or loss of biodiversity are seldom addressed in the proposals. Together, this constitutes sustainability in regional development as a matter of form, rather than content. As a consequence of the effects of how sustainability is currently represented, the thesis concludes that there are openings for re-vitalisation due to colliding aims and approaches, but the challenge they pose to the established rationality has not yet induced a (re)politicisation of development in regional policy.

Abstract [sv]

Omställningen till ett mer hållbart samhälle pågår inom en uppsjö av områden, men vad händer när hållbarheten genomförs där helt andra syften och styrningsformer är etablerade? Regional utveckling har de senaste decennierna framför allt handlat om att konkurrera om nya invånare och företagsetableringar, attrahera investeringar och stötta innovationer. Den svenska regeringen har nu pekat ut den regionala nivån som avgörande för omställning till hållbar utveckling, och politikområdet byter namn från regional tillväxt till regional utveckling.

Denna studie handlar om vad som händer när hållbarhet introduceras i ett område som präglats av konsensus och strävan efter att skapa tillväxt, och vad görandet av hållbarhet innebär för vilken utveckling som i och med detta blir möjlig. Kan effekterna av hållbarhetsansträngningarna öppna upp området för det som den politiska teoretikern Chantal Mouffe kallar det politiska? Genom intervjuer, observationer och analyser av skriven policy undersöks hur hållbarhet representeras i regional utveckling, och vad detta får för effekter. Studien visar att omställningen breddar regional utvecklingspolitik för fler frågor än de strikt näringslivspolitiska, men att hållbarhet i hög grad representeras som form och metodproblem medan innehållsliga aspekter trängs undan och begränsas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2024. , p. 333
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2024:12
Keywords [en]
Development, governing, policy analysis, political rationality, politics, problematisation, regions, regional development, sustainability, transformation, transition, WPR
Keywords [sv]
Hållbarhet, hållbarhetsstyrning, omställning, policyanalys, politisk rationalitet, politik, problematisering, regioner, regional utveckling, styrning, utveckling, WPR
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-99141DOI: 10.59217/peos8901ISBN: 978-91-7867-452-7 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7867-453-4 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-99141DiVA, id: diva2:1848285
Public defence
2024-05-24, 9C203 Nyqvist, Karlstads universitet, Universitetsgatan 2, Karlstad, Karlstad, 13:15 (Swedish)
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Available from: 2024-05-03 Created: 2024-04-02 Last updated: 2024-05-02Bibliographically approved

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Tangnäs, Johanna

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