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Institutions, Discourse and Regional Development

The Scottish Development Agency and the Politics of Regional Policy


Henrik Halkier

Why are some regional development strategies adopted and others rejected? Only limited systematic attention has been paid to the politics of regional policy, including the role of institutions, discourse, and political debate in shaping this major area of public policy. The book develops an institutionalist approach to the study of regional policy, capable of spanning major European development paradigms and accounting for the dynamic relationship between organisations, policies and political discourse.
This conceptual framework is then applied to the Scottish Development Agency, a development body famed across Europe for its innovative policies but surrounded by political controversy in Scotland. A detailed study of corporate strategies, policy implementation, and the wider British environment questions existing interpretations of the organisation which tend to vilify anti-interventionist Thatcherites or glorify shrewd development professionals.
Instead the author proposes an alternative synthesis which highlights the interplay between institutions, discourse and regional development in the politics of regional policy.
Contents: The politics of regional policy – Institutionalism and public policy – Thatcherism between political discourse and policy implementation – Ideology and territorial politics in Scotland – Indigenous growth versus inward investment in regional development strategy.