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The Reflexive North
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Transforming the Local
Coping Strategies and Regional Policies

Our brand-new publication  ( January 2002  )  :


chapter 1
Understanding Local Dynamics and Governance in Northern Regions
Nils Aarsæther & Jørgen Ole Bærenholdt

chapter 2
Overcoming Crisis: Coping Strategies in Fisheries Based Localities in Iceland, North-western Russia and the Faroe Islands
Unnur Dís Skaptadóttir, Jógvan Mørkøre, Larissa Riabova

chapter 3
Differentiation without Specialization
Ragnar Nilsen

chapter 4
Contours of the Swedish Forest Landscape. A Case Study of Relationships between Socio-Economic and Ecological Space in Jokkmokk
Sarah Lloyd

chapter 5
Local Industrial Development in Finnmark and Company Ownership
Knut Bjørn Lindkvist

chapter 6
A Different Way of Talking about Fish. Coping With Limited Access to Fish Stocks under a New Regime of Conservation
J. David Flint

chapter 7
The Role of Heritage Corridor Development in Canada´s Sub-Arctic. Promoting Identity, Networks and Innovation on the Lower North Shore of Quebec
John Hull

chapter 8
Local Community Net as a New Model of Regional Policy in Finland
Jukka Oksa & Jarno Turunen

from the preface:
This book is the third book from the UNSECO MOST Circumpolar Coping Processes Project. The first book "Coping Strategies in the North" (1998) reported the initial points of departure for the projects as discussed in 1997. The second book "The Reflexive North" (2001) was a more ambitious attempt to compared findings and develop theoretical understandings better based on papers presented and discussed in 1998 and 1999. With this third book "Transforming the local – Coping Strategies and Regional Policies" we raise more questions about regional policies; we think the coping strategies approach can help understand contemporary developments of regional policy in the North.

The book contain only some of the many inspiring and interesting papers presented at the MOST CCPP workshop in Huhmari and Joensuu 15–19 November 2000 "Whether, how and why regional policies work in concert with coping strategies locally?" The success of the workshop was the result of the combined efforts of many actors: The many researchers presenting papers, the local organisers – Markku Tykkyäinen, Esho Lehto and Jukka Oksa, the MOST CCPP secretary – Jochen Peters, and the fundings for our activities by Nordic Arctic Research Programme (NARP) and Nordic Centre of Spatial Development (NORDREGIO). During this workshop, we also had the interesting experience of visiting the Upper Karelia Learning Project (see chapter 8) and other examples of local development, due to the efforts of local organisers of the University of Joensuu, Department of Geography and Karelian Institute.

While we are continuing work with future publications, this book has been produced fast to secure documentation of the diverse activities and dissemination of results of the first phase of the MOST Summary Circumpolar Coping Processes Project (1996–2001). This has only been possible due to the efforts of the authors and Jochen Peters, always helpful, and support from the Nordic Centre for Spatial Development (NORDREGIO).

from the summary:
Regions and local communities are undergoing profound changes. As a result of increased economic competition, firms and enterprises in the geographic periphery are exposed to challenging processes of restructuring. One result of this development is a loss of population in small municipalities and peripheral regions, while metropolitan centres experience population growth. Meanwhile, the potential for central governments to implement policies of regional equalisation has diminished. Support for an objective like balanced regional development has in many countries decreased, and also the complexities of the "regional landscape" have rendered a targeted regional policy-making a rather difficult task.

In this book, in particularly this last point has been the focus – the composite nature of the regional landscape. One aspect of this is the differential development as for local economies and standards of living in the localities of the northern periphery. But another aspect is the variations between strategies that are developed and pursued by actors at the local level to counter negative trends. This variation can be found both as to the degree to which local people and institutions act, and what type or combinations of types of strategies they engage in.

By a series of case studies from the local level in Atlantic Canada, Russia, and Nordic countries, the researchers display some of the challenges which regional policy-makers face in developing policies that work and make sense also at the level of the municipality. The aim is to stimulate a discussion of these challenges by pointing to the processes of transformation going on at the level of the locality, informed by both tensions present at that level, and by the scope of extra-local connections and networks that link local actions to wider social and economic fields.

Several chapters deal with local responses to the problems of resource depletion in the fish stocks. Skaptadóttir, Mørkøre & Riabova compares the responses in coastal municipalities in Northwest Russia, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, while Lindkvist presents a study of the importance of ownership forms in transforming the local fish processing industry in North Cape municipality (Norway). With case material from Nova Scotia, Flint shows how the fishery crisis has changed the relations between different groups of fishermen, highlighting aspects like identity and social standing in the local community.

Strategies based on the maintenance of traditional resource management are contrasted with strategies of economic diversification in Lloyd’s and Nilsen’s contributions. Creative and flexible strategies are identified, both on the level of the locality and on the level of the household. Two areas have been highlighted as the most promising fields for the peripheral localities: The utilisation of modern communication technologies to create new jobs and to support existing activities; and small-scale, culturally oriented tourism. These two themes are addressed by a Oksa & Turunen´s study of an programme of getting ICT into the everyday lives of people in peripheral municipalities in from Upper Karelia (Finland), and Hull’s study of a tourism project in Quebec that is built on specific events in the region’s past.

Bærenholdt (Roskilde) and Aarsæther (Tromsø) have edited this volume, and they have also produced an introductory chapter, in which the relations between locality development and regional development in the North are discussed. In this chapter, the editors also review the empirical contributions of this volume, and in the concluding remarks outline how the findings can be utilised in relating the concept of "coping strategy" – the combination of innovative practices, networking, and the formation of new identities to the challenges of regional policy making.

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department of community and planning studies & faculty of social sciences
University of Tromsø, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway, phone +47 77 64 55 21
Editor: faculty director Ingeborg Harstein
Web-editor: Jochen Peters last update: 15 March, 2002

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