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30 September 2020
Regional Growth Against all Odds: Agency and Structure in Path Development
Increasing polarisation between economically successful and less-favoured regions, as well as climate change call for novel strategies promoting structural changes in regions. However, the dominant theories and models in economic geography and regional development studies advance mainly structural explanations, and questions related to agency often remain in shadows. Studies connecting agency and structure in regional development are still relatively rare, accumulating rapidly though.
Simultaneously, the rapidly expanding stream of studies focusing on regional path development recognises that translating insights from studying historic development paths to the ways and conditions of conscious path development requires a more robust theoretical and conceptual link between agency and structures.
In the special issue, we focus especially on non-core regions that require ways to grow against all the structural odds, i.e. regions in which agency may be essential to overcome structural disadvantages. The basic premise is that conceptually and empirically rigorous studies on agency will add analytical leverage into this field of enquiry.
The Purpose and Research questions
The special issue will seek to encourage scholarly debate on the role of agency in the economic, social and environmental transformation of regions by assembling a novel collection of articles. The special issue aims to stimulate refreshed and critical reflections around the relationship between agency and structure in the context of regional path development in non-core regions. The special issue will investigate the ways and the extent to which individuals, groups of individuals, and organizations may shape the path development in regions.
The special issues has three key objectives: (1) to advance a theory of agency and structure in regional development, (2) to introduce novel methodological approaches that shed new light on causal relationships between agency and structure over time, and (3) to provide solid empirical evidence on the interplay between agency and structure within and across different territorial contexts. The special issue will provide answers to new questions, which are not commonly posed in studies working on structural explanations for regional development.
- We invite papers that address the following research questions, which are indicative but not restrictive:
- What are the theoretical underpinnings of agency in the context of regional path development?
- Who are the key actors in different types of path development; how do they interact with in their efforts to promote path development?
- How does institutional arrangements and economic structures frame agency? How do key actors cope with structural challenges, what their institutional strategies?
- How do key actors influence the course of events and aim to change the very same institutional setting in which they are embedded?
- How do place leaders influence other actors for path development? What are the core processes and how are they organised?
- What features of local and regional contexts enable and constrain agency? Are there contexts that make it easily possible or nearly impossible for change agency to surface?
Looking to Publish your Research?
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The Special Issue Guest Editors welcome papers for consideration especially from academics with an interest in economic geography and regional development studies, and more specifically in the relationship between agency and structure, path development, institutional agency and non-core regions.
Authors interested in publishing in the Special Issue should, in the first instance, submit a 400 word abstract to Markku Sotarauta by 31 September 2020.
Successful authors will be notified of abstract acceptance by 30 October 2020. Full papers must be received by 28 February 2021.
Please note that all submissions are not guaranteed publication and will be subject to Regional Studies’ normal rigorous peer review process. Details of Regional Studies’ publication process, evaluation criteria and style are available on the journal’s website.
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