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Space Craft: Globalization and Governmentality in Regional Development
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Political, Historical, Religious and Cultural Studies.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores two related purposes. First, it theoretically investigates how the broad literature on globalization is nested in debates concerning the nature of concepts such as space and territory. When doing so, it suggests that studies of globalization can be advanced by escaping territorialist understandings where the nation state is reproduced as a natural arena appropriate for studying all aspects of ‘the social’.

The theoretical part of the thesis is used as a basis for articulating a framework for empirical studies that rest upon a conceptual grammar fashioned through a combination of so called assemblage thinking and governmentality analysis. This framework is then put to work as the second, empirical, purpose of the thesis is pursued. More precisely this means that the governance of Swedish regional development is analyzed as an assemblage of discourses, practices and subjects where (re)production of globalization occurs.

The (re)production of globalization is studied in three interrelated case studies, all based on a corpus of 81 documents pertaining to the governance of Swedish regional development. By paying attention to how power operates in terms of political rationalities, governmental technologies and the production of social actors, the thesis shows how notions of a perpetual and omnipresent global competition marks the assemblage with particularly salient modes of rationale. Specifically, entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity are represented as the primary means for becoming competitive in the age of globalization, and it is shown here how this have inclusionary and exclusionary effects in terms of desired social actors throughout Swedish regions. The thesis then ends with a concluding chapter where the current regimes of regional development are identified as complex forms of neoliberal rule with far reaching effects for democratic principles and practices.

Abstract [en]

In an age often understood as globalized, questions of space and territory are pushed to the forefront of political rule. This thesis explores how contemporary regimes of governing are not only practices of ‘state craft’, but also ‘space craft’ as power operates in relation to perpetual and encompassing notions of global competition among states, regions and subjects.

In the thesis a conceptual grammar based on so called assemblage thinking and governmentality studies is put forward in order to investigate how globalization is articulated as a problem for governing regional development in Sweden. It is shown how this is nested in specific political rationalities and governmental technologies that emerge in attempts to produce competitiveness.

By approaching the governance of regional development as an assemblage, a vibrant junction of discourses, practices and subjects, the thesis shows how political analysis can rid it self from notions of methodological nationalism, or in other words, a reification of the nation-state as the most appropriate scale for the study of social relations. When doing so it also highlights how complex forms of neoliberal rule lies at the heart of regional development, posing challenges for democratic principles and practices throughout the world.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2015. , 309 p.
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2015:23
Keyword [en]
Assemblage, Space, Territory, Multimodal Discourse Analysis, Innovation, Competitiveness
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-35786ISBN: 978-91-7063-639-4OAI: diva2:801356
Public defence
2015-05-22, Sjöströmsalen, 1B 309, Karlstad University, Karlstad, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2015-04-30 Created: 2015-04-09 Last updated: 2015-05-05Bibliographically approved

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Öjehag-Pettersson, Andreas
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