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Human Geography

Josephine Rekers

Senior lecturer

Human Geography

”We were only managing our legacy” Forms of agency in Olofström’s development path from supply chain to regional cluster

Author

  • Josephine V. Rekers
  • Linda Stihl

Summary, in English

The labour market region of Olofström-Karlshamn experienced a period of exceptional economic decline between 2007 and 2010, prompted primarily by the job loss that resulted from restructuring within Volvo. In December 2008 around 1000 jobs disappeared overnight, throwing the municipality of 15000 people into crisis, and further rippling through the region. This is a story of a peripheral region dependent on manufacturing employment that is not uncommon in Sweden, the Nordic countries and elsewhere. However, the downward spiral of this development path was temporary: jobs were regained sooner than expected and the region is no longer a negative outlier when it comes to regional growth performance. What was once a Volvo-centric supply chain can now more suitable be considered an actively coordinated cluster. How did this happen? What changes in terms of network structures, institutions and policy priorities underlie the region’s development trajectory? In this paper, we use original interview material to investigate different forms of agency that emerged following the crisis, their combination, and the resources, networks and motivations that allowed individuals to take initiatives and act (or not). This paper thereby contributes a much needed micro-level perspective on regional economic change, foregrounding the role of agency in shaping regional development paths.

Department/s

  • Department of Human Geography
  • CIRCLE

Publishing year

2019

Language

English

Document type

Conference paper: abstract

Topic

  • Economic Geography

Conference name

The 8th Nordic Geographers Meeting

Conference date

2019-06-16 - 2019-06-19

Conference place

Trondheim, Norway

Status

Published

Project

  • Regional Growth against all odds