Region work – Institutional activism and the implementation of regional reform

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In 2016, the Norwegian government initiated an extensive reform of the regional scale, eventually reducing the number of political-administrative counties from nineteen to eleven through mergers. The territorial and institutional changes that followed can be understood as a partial regional (de/re)institutionalisation process, in which the political and administrative boundaries of the merged counties were reshaped. Using the reform, and particularly the involuntary merger of Troms and Finnmark counties as a case study, this paper examines how regional (de/re)institutionalisation processes are discursively and materially enacted through official government documents. This is achieved by analysing examples of government discourse and discursive practice in a selection of white papers along with draft resolutions and bills. In so doing, the paper explores forms of institutional activism and advocacy associated with the implementation of regional reform, providing the basis for unpacking and discussing a conceptual distinction between ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ spaces of regional institutionalisation. By building on previous scholarship around the notion of ‘region work’, the paper contributes conceptually to the theorisation of regional (de/re)institutionalisation processes through the construction of an analytical typology, intended to aid the operationalisation and analysis of agency and practice in the context of regional change. On the basis of the empirical analysis, the paper discusses limitations of institutional activism, as well as the influence of softer institutional advocacy on top-down regionalisation processes.
TidskriftPolitical Geography
Tidigt onlinedatum2022 nov. 16
StatusPublished - 2023

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Kulturgeografi
  • Studier av offentlig förvaltning


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