Space Craft : Globalization and Governmentality in Regional Development

Sammanfattning: 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.