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Regional Poicy, Social Networks and informal structures
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography.
2015 (English)In: European Urban and Regional Studies, ISSN 0969-7764, E-ISSN 1461-7145, Vol. 22, no 4, 368-382 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper presents a study on regional development and innovation systems in a Swedish county. The theoretical points of departure rest on human geographical and sociological perspectives.  The regional policy in Sweden today is characterised by a strongly emphasized governance model, i.e. an orientation towards networks and cluster initiatives. The regional development programme of the county of Värmland 2004-2007 was a template for this policy. It rested upon some basic principles, such as partnership engagements, networking, EU-specific linguistic usage and superstar rhetoric. But this seemingly innovative regional policy has roots in traditional industrial society (iron works and paper mills). The network planning model gives the opportunity for informal social structures to re-enter the area of regional planning. Gender equality in regional government policy was challenged by the presence of a homosocial shadow (seamy side) structure such as secret networks and clubs on the outside of the official organizations. Networks were also important in the reproduction of traditional power structures, male dominance and hegemony. One conclusion is that networking can be used both mutually as a progressive force and as a conservative tool among actors in the innovation policy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 22, no 4, 368-382 p.
Keyword [en]
Cluster politics, elites, gender equality, homosocial, homotopia, networks
National Category
Human Geography Sociology
Research subject
Human Geography; Sociology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-124293DOI: 10.1177/0969776412474663ISI: 000362330300003OAI: diva2:883485
Available from: 2015-12-17 Created: 2015-12-17 Last updated: 2016-07-05Bibliographically approved

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Forsberg, Gunnel
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