Bilder av lokal näringslivsutveckling : exemplet Värnamo

Sammanfattning: The main aim of this licentiate thesis is to examine how local actors in a medium-sized Swedish municipality, Värnamo, in their role as decision-makers at the local arena, describe and explain the preconditions and strategies for local economic and social development. The analysis uses semi-structured interviews to reveal the connections between the local actors representations of social and economic structures and their representations of central and future strategic choices. The local actors are represented by a) firm owners or central firm managers, b) local politicians in the municipal executive board, c) civil servants in central positions and d) key actors connected to local and regional organizations. The methodological approach is based on discourse analysis. The overall aim of the study is to understand how local discourses are constructed and communicated. The analysis is deepened by relating the local discourses to relevant theoretical models in contemporary economic geography. The economic-geographical theoretical models used in the analysis focus on industrial districts, clusters and innovation systems. Path-dependency, social embeddedness and creative class are other concepts of importance to understand the formation of the local discourse. The analysis shows how local discourses are affected by the perceived globalization process while being at the same time linked to a) specific historical and environmental factors leading to predominant behavioral norms and values stating that you should be hard working, economical, cooperative and trustworthy and b) the relative location, which is conceived to be central regarding communications and regional service functions. This is combined with an image of a creative and innovative local/regional production system, based on traditions in manufacturing and trade. The foundations in manufacturing and trade are however challenged by new sectors like logistics, design, and higher education in cooperation with universities in the region.