Regionalpolitikens diskursiva grunder och gränser : Om politik, makt och kunskap i det regionala samhällsbyggandet

Sammanfattning: The change in regional governance in Sweden is regularly understood in terms of a shift from ’government’ to ’governance’, from a redistributive policy to a policy that aims to encourage regional innovation, competitiveness and growth. This shift also includes the adoption of global policy models, such as ’clusters’.  In the literature on the global spread of policies it has been argued that a market for global policies has developed. This is not least evident through the expansion of global consultancy firms, international policy organisations as well as a cosmopolitan elite of travelling policy technocrats.Theoretically and methodologically this study contributes to scholarly discussions of how new forms of governance can be analysed, and especially how governmentality studies can be utilised and combined with analyses of the messy political practices of specific policies and programs. The study analyses the discursive shift in regional policy in Sweden: contested elements erased, conflicts concealed and the political order produced. By empirically departing from a ’cluster policy network’ lodged within a Swedish region, cluster policy is analysed as an assemblage of global circuits of knowledge, expertise and local relations of power. A broad range of materials for analysis have been generated through interviews, participant observations and documents.The production of policy knowledge is an overarching political rationality of contemporary forms of regional governance, translated into technologies such as benchmarking, regional comparisons, competitions, evaluations and best-practice. Based on the empirical analyses it is argued that the lack of power critique and a hyper-rational representation of knowledge produce an international market for legitimacy. It is further argued that five characteristics of the policy regime (’the regional cluster orchestra’) contributes to the reproduction of the policy regime, and relations of domination.