The consequences of timing norms and term limits on local agency

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Incorporating time as a unit of analysis can enrich the study of agency by showing the specific ways in which actors are temporally constrained when responding to economic disturbances. In this paper, this is done by examining how the behavior of actors is affected by timing norms such as term limits that may be associated with an actor's position, as for example, an elected mayor or university vice-chancellor. Institutions such as timing norms and term limits shape, constrain, and enable actors in their efforts to persuade others to mobilize resources toward collective action and institutional change in regions. This paper shows the value of considering timing norms in the study of agency, by presenting a comparative case study of local actors’ responses to the closure of large research and development facilities in two cities in Sweden. Main findings from interview material and supporting documents show that the possibility to renew term limits shape how actors pursue policy initiatives. These initiatives are found to be in sync with the term limits of these actors, particularly in the schedules of policy milestones and operations. However, this paper also finds that actors actively shape these temporal constructs in order to convince other actors to support collective action efforts. This paper contributes to a more time conscious account of agency, with its cases pointing to the importance of investigating institutions with temporal dimensions that help explain how agentic processes are carried out.

Sidor (från-till)122-135
TidskriftEnvironment and Planning A
Tidigt onlinedatum2021 okt. 20
StatusPublished - 2022

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© The Author(s) 2021.

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Tvärvetenskapliga studier


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