Regio ex machina Om det regionala medborgarskapets villkor
Sammanfattning: Departing from the ongoing regionalization processes in Europe and other parts of the world, this thesis aims to study the premises and conditions of regional citizenship in contemporary state restructuring. As globalization is viewed to challenge the sovereignty and capacity of nation states, subnational regions have gained authority and interest as key actors to compete on globalized markets of capital in order to ensure future development. This alteration in the balance between the regional and the national raises questions on how aspects of citizenship become negotiated in relation to regions as emphasized political communities. The study therefore develops and applies a productive analysis of regional citizenship based on citizenship theory and poststructuralist discourse theory.The attempts to reform the administrative region of Värmland, Sweden, between the years 2007 and 2011 functions as a case study in the dissertation. In relation to this process a variety of materials has been collected in order to shed light on articulatory practices related to the reform: media material, public documents and assessment reports, observations of public dialog meetings and focus groups. Through a discourse analysis of the material the study focuses on the discursive production of regional communities and regional citizens in relation to regional reform. Three different but related articulations of the region emerge in the analysis: the region as a cultural landscape, as a welfare system and as a growth machine. The study shows how the understanding of the region as a growth machine holds a hegemonic position in relation to the other articulations. The growth machine is based on a neoliberal notion of development, where competiveness and commodification function as premises to the intrinsic understanding of regional citizens – as well as welfare and culture - as capital that can, and should, be used to facilitate economic growth.
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