Project

Agents of Change in Old-industrial Regions in Europe

Goal: Growing socio-economic disparities between prosperous metropolitan regions and poor rural, peripheral, and old-industrial regions pose a threat to Europe’s long-term stability and EU goals of social cohesion. The main ambition of ‘Agents of Change’ is to investigate how old industrial regions located outside major agglomerations can defy the unfavourable conditions and trends and create new development paths leading to prosperity and well-being, contributing to social cohesion and stability of Europe as a whole.

Date: 1 January 2019 - 31 December 2022

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Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Register for the 2022 RSA Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) Conference organised in Leipzig from 14.09 – 16.09.22 Tours require additional registration. Kevin John Morgan Franziska Görmar Linda Stihl Thilo Lang Ani Saunders Melinda Mihály Markus Grillitsch Jan Píša Vladan Hruška Erika Nagy
Supported by @VolkswagenSt and Fritz Thyssen Stiftung
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Send your abstract to SS12 Agency and Regional Development in a Changing World (open session) Markus Grillitsch Linda Stihl
DL for abstracts: 16.05.2022
Register for 2022 RSA Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) Bridging Old and New Divides: Global Dynamics & Regional Transformations
The broad range of deep and existential recent crises are threatening the health of the planet and the health of human kind. In parallel, there are more delimited, but not necessarily less pressing, regional and local crises. It is clear that we live in a changing world and have to tackle various ecological, economic and political challenges. With limitations to the effect of international and national responses, it is necessary to understand the implications for regional development and in particular how and to what consequences local actors can engage in change processes. This special session thus aims to contribute to the burgeoning literature on human agency in regional development (Grillitsch and Sotarauta, 2020). What actors do when facing a crisis, when building resilience in order to avoid dependencies or challenging the set path have effects on regional outcomes. Yet, regions vary in forms, conditions, locations and opportunities. Hence, the scope for agency and the effects of actions will also differ across regions (Rekers and Stihl, 2021). The particular focus of this special session is thus to understand which contextual factors at the local, regional, national, and global scale mediate the emergence of certain patterns of human agency, and the mediate their intended and unintended outcomes both regionally and beyond. This session thus aims to stimulate a discussion about the emergence, role and outcomes of agency in processes of regional development, including questions about:
  • To what extent, why and how regional context conditions shape the emergence, form, and outcomes of local agency?
  • What is it about national institutional arrangements that effects local agency in regional development processes?
  • In what ways, do industrial structures or industrial particularities influence the emergence, form, and outcomes of local agency in regional development processes?
  • How do local actors respond to the grander challenges of a changing world?
  • How can we observe and measure local agency and link it to regional development outcomes in different regional contexts?
  • Under what conditions and how can changes in regional development be initiated by local actors in different contexts?
  • Under what conditions, why and how does local agency induce change at the national or international scale?
GRILLITSCH, M. & SOTARAUTA, M. 2020. Trinity of change agency, regional development paths and opportunity spaces. Progress in Human Geography, 44, 704-723.
REKERS, J. V. & STIHL, L. 2021. One crisis, one region, two municipalities: The geography of institutions and change agency in regional development paths. Geoforum, 124, 89-98.
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Send your abstract to SS15 ‘Beyond Centralism v Localism: Local agency in the Multilevel Polity’ by 16.05.2022 Kevin John Morgan Erika Nagy Ani Saunders
ACORE project funded by @VolkswagenSt
Register for 2022 RSA Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) Bridging Old and New Divides: Global Dynamics & Regional Transformations
A series of crises – like the financial and economic meltdown, the migration crisis, the pandemics and the war in Ukraine – has undermined stability in Europe, triggering new constellations of power and processes that repositions places, regions and agents in the political map of the world. Such events challenge existing institutional systems and create possibilities for alternative narratives of development – such as social and spatial justice, well-being, ecologically sustainable production and consumption, solidarity and self-organisation, all of which entail new conceptions of agency (Soja, 2010; Pike et al, 2017; Hadjmichalis, 2018; Görmar et al, 2019).  This session aims to stimulate a discussion over changes in institutional arrangements, practices and narratives underpinning place-based development policies in relation to powerful shocks to explore how such institutional shifts impact upon, and were shaped by, the actions of local agents in various spatial contexts during the last decade. In particular we seek to understand:  How powerful structural changes were ‘localized‘ in policy narratives and practices, and how local resources and processes were placed in changing global, national institutional context; How such processes were driven by the entry of new agents and/or the changing position of local actors in the multilevel polity; How such agentic changes produced new dependencies and inequalities within Europe and beyond, raising new questions about scales and networks for place-based politics;  How subsequent shocking events enforcing institutional reactions supported/downplayed actions, agencies and processes that rested on alternative visions of regional and local development;   How the interests of marginalized groups and domains (the poor, the immigrants, the natural environment for example) could be embraced in local development, and whether the decentralization of institutional systems and the empowerment of communities could entail more just and sustainable development trajectories.
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Send abstract to SS16 ‘Human agency and capacity to act for regional development and sustainability (open session)’ by 16.05.2022 Vladan Hruška Jan Píša
ACORE project funded by @VolkswagenSt
The 2022 @regstud Central and Eastern Europe Conference in Leipzig, 14-17.09.22
In recent years, regional studies have witnessed a shift of attention from formal and bureaucratic actors to individuals and their collectives. Similar approaches penetrate studies focusing on activities of actors engaged in diverse environmental issues. As collective action, the role of civil society and social movements is increasingly emphasized in regional development and sustainability discourses. Although most of individuals act within the path-dependency frame and reproduce existing practices leading to the maintaining of old and unsustainable development paths, some of them might have a transformative role resulting in creation of new and more sustainable futures. However, sufficient capacity to act of an individual and a collective is a basic precondition for having the transformative role. Agency on an individual level consists of specific constellations of accumulated social, cultural and economic capital and maybe even the emotional capital which might trigger the change agency in a given place e.g. because of the place attachment or anger with a current situation in the place and society. Agency on a collective level (social movements, civil society initiatives) depends on resource-mobilization strategies (including social base), the political opportunity structure and cultural framing of a social issue. Resulting agency is then implemented in a specific structural and institutional setting which might have accelerating or hindering effects for the change in the development path. In this special session we would like to welcome papers focusing on the role of individuals, civil society initiatives and social movements in constructing new and more sustainable futures of places and regions. Especially we would like to focus on the issue how their capacity to act is constructed and transformed into the activities changing the situation in the given place or community formed by a multi-scalar institutional setting. We also welcome papers focusing on the role of emotions mobilising these actors to act in local communities, as we find this topic underdeveloped, but highly relevant.
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Join us at SS1 4. Agents of Change in Old Industrial Regions of Europe (closed session) Franziska Görmar Linda Stihl Ani Saunders Jan Píša Melinda Mihály
SS14 is organised by ACORE project funded by @VolkswagenSt
Register for 2022 @regstud Central and Eastern Europe Conference in Leipzig, 14-17.09.22
There is a growing interest in explaining the role of human agency in local and regional development and formation of new regional development paths. While economic geography has traditionally focused on structural factors and constraints, there is a gap in our understanding of the role of agency in identifying, triggering, negotiating, and narrating new development paths, specifically in places burdened by strong industrial specialisation, relatively small population size, and location outside metropolitan areas. We conceptualise agency as diverse in terms of the form, purpose, and capacity to act (Grillitsch and Sotarauta 2020). To explain the capacity of local actors to shape regional development we need to analyse their own capabilities, as well as the legitimacy and mandates they gain within country specific institutional architectures (Nagy et al. 2021). Thus, such an agency perspective is highly sensitive to the relationship of centrality – peripherality and uneven power, the processes of centralisation – devolution, spatial reorganisation of production, and production of development visions and spatial narratives.  This closed special session is dedicated to the findings of ‘Agents of Change in Old Industrial Regions of Europe’ project. Five teams of researchers have focused on the agency of change in old-industrial and non-metropolitan regions located in the countries of both Western (Germany, Sweden, the UK) and Central Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary). The findings show how local agency emerges, functions, and facilitates the creation of new development paths under conditions of relative geographical peripherality and strong legacies of industrial specialisation.
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Join us at SS17. Roundtable discussion: lessons learnt on methodology within the ACORE project (closed session) Erika Nagy Melinda Mihály Franziska Görmar Jan Píša Ani Saunders
SS17 is organised by ACORE project funded by @VolkswagenSt
Register for 2022 @regstud Central and Eastern Europe Conference in Leipzig, 14-17.09.22
This session aims to better understand the methodological challenges when conducting fieldwork with a comparative approach. Our positionality including our epistemology and ontology and the intersectionality of our class, gender, ethnicity, place of residence etc. influence how we conduct research. Within this roundtable discussion we will discuss inequalities of power in knowledge production and the role and opportunities of researchers in questioning existing power hierarchies. Our roundtable discussants are junior researchers of the ACORE ( Agents of Change in Old-industrial Regions in Europe) project with different class, gender and ethnicity both from Eastern and Western Europe. Intersectionalities need to be reflected in conducting fieldwork with a comparative approach. In addition to case and interview-partner selection for an (inter)national comparison and strategies for co-writing the research results, researchers of the ACORE project needed to redesign their research strategies after the breakout of COVID-19. Lessons learnt from conducting fieldwork with a comparative approach in a diverse, international research team will be shared in this roundtable discussion.
 
Linda Stihl
added an update
Call for Papers: 2022 RSA Central and Eastern Europe Conference (Leipzig, 14-16 September 2022) Special session: SS12. Agency and Regional Development in a Changing World (open session) with me and Markus Grillitsch
Special session: SS15. Beyond Centralism v Localism: Local agency in the Multilevel Polity (open session) Erika Nagy, Kevin John Morgan and Ani Saunders
Abstract submission deadline: 16th May 2022, https://www.regionalstudies.org/news/2022-rsa-cee-special-sessions/#!
We are looking forward to receiving your abstracts!
 
Linda Stihl
added a research item
The paper follows the development of the tourism industry in a small, traditional mining town in northern Sweden. It highlights local agency in the diversification process, as well as interpath relations between tourism and mining. Drawing on 21 semi-structured interviews, the paper finds that the two seemingly unrelated paths share the need for a variety of local endowments and in so the dominant mining industry both compete with and support the growing tourism industry. The paper further finds that both private and public actors can exercise change agency, in a region dominated by reproductive agency, and that change agency can widen the room for further actors to exercise change agency.
Franziska Görmar
added a research item
Local agency is marked by its structural boundedness including nation state strategies. We investigate the dynamic and mutually constitutive interrelationship between agency and state strategies to better understand and explain change in local development with the examples of four mining towns: Kiruna (Sweden), Zeitz (Germany), Most (Czechia) and Tatabánya (Hungary). They embody processes of industrial transition and mining activities that are heavily regulated by (supra-) national authorities and marked by constantly changing multiscalar power relations. We find local agency is constrained by rather specific relations and can be facilitated by more complementary ones, both on local level and between different scales.
Jan Píša
added a research item
The public sector has an important role in the development of old industrial regions which struggle with negative consequences of economic restructuring. Despite the perception of old industrial regions as lagging, unattractive and even hopeless, there are many examples of activities of local people that contribute to the emergence of new development paths. We call them agents of change and argue that there are several types of agent-specific resources that affect the power and ability to shape local or regional development trajectory. However, these resources have been gained throughout the lifetime in various ways (bringing up in own family, formal education, membership in NGOs or sport clubs etc.) and in cooperation with diverse actors (family and friends, public bodies, firms etc.). It is in the interest of all regional development actors to have in their region very well-prepared people for the challenges they and their region faces to. In the context of the old industrial Ústí nad Labem Region (Czechia) the paper examines how public bodies of local, regional, national and international governance historically created the capacity of agents of change who introduce new development path(s) of the region. Thus, our research question is: how did public bodies facilitate the creation of agents of change in the context of the old industrial region? Based on 49 semi-structured interviews with local leaders (innovative and creative representatives of grassroot initiatives, companies and public bodies) we found that rather than formal education, the role of knowledge transfer from diverse structures play a key role. In many cases, the involvement of agents in Erasmus or similar study or work internships abroad was an inspiration and important element in the human capital building process. It was also found that there were some alternative learning methods and hobby and leisure circles that played a crucial role in building the elementary attitudes and values later used in the promotion of the change agency in old industrial regions.
Erika Nagy
added an update
The ACORE project goes to the next 2022 Regions in Recovery E-Festival organised by the regional Studies Association.
The special session organised by the project team:
Join us!
 
Pia Kahlfuss
added an update
Call for papers for the Special Session 8 "Agency perspective on new development paths in non-metropolitan regions" for the 2022 Regions in Recovery E-Festival held online from 21 Mar - 01 Apr 2022
Abstract submission deadline: 17th January 2022
Local agency has attracted growing interest in the current debates in economic geography, regional development, and planning policy. However, there are gaps in our understanding of agency and its function, structure, capacity to act, and performance within various spatial and institutional contexts. This is particularly true for non-metropolitan regions and places that often have weak institutional capacity, suffer from outdated skills and economic specialisations, and are in a weak position to establish a new development path to prosperity. We conceptualise local agency as diverse in terms of the form, purpose, its holders and their capacity to act (Grillitsch and Sotarauta 2020; Jolly et al. 2020). The power of local actors to shape regional development depends on their own capabilities and networks, as well as the legitimacy and mandates they have within specific institutional architectures (Nagy et al. 2021). We treat agency as formed by human actors (both individuals and groups) who are locally present and at the same time, embedded in broader institutional environments and practices, and regional and extra-regional networks. We assume that although non-metropolitan regions and places have similar structural conditions and challenges, they differ substantially in their institutional and agentic qualities and their capacity to identify, create, and grasp development opportunities emerging beyond urban centres. This special session aims to facilitate discussion on local agency, including conceptual, methodological, and empirical aspects with predominant focus on localities and regions characterised by relative peripherality and legacies of industrial specialisations.
Possible topics include the following:
  1. Theoretical and conceptual foundations of local agency, including regional development and governance, policy, evolutionary economic geography, economic and social rebounding, well-being, sustainability, leadership and organisation literature.
  2. Local agency within broader political-institutional environments, including uneven relationship of power, multi-level governance, and other conditions fostering or constraining local agency.
  3. Threats (and responses to) associated with political centralisation and more assertive role of the central state in development policy, fiscal regimes, and public administration reform.
  4. Multi-scalar embeddedness of local agents in local and regional economies and communities as well as global production networks.
  5. Analysis of the role of agency in the creation of new development paths in the context of non-metropolitan and peripheralized regions.
  6. The interplay of spatial narratives, imaginaries, and policies and their implications for the formation of new development paths.
  7. Emerging conflicts, dependencies, vulnerabilities, and unintended consequences associated with new development paths. Policies and governance mechanisms designed to deal with such conflicts.
  8. Policies focused on local agency and its contribution to new path development, economic and social rebounding after crisis situations, and strengthening long-term stability and cohesion of the EU.
References: Grillitsch M., and Sotarauta M (2020) Trinity of Change Agency, Regional Development Paths and Opportunity Spaces. Progress in Human Geography 44 (4): 704–723. https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132519853870
Jolly S, Grillitsch M and Hansen T (2020) Agency and actors in regional industrial path development. A framework and longitudinal analysis, Geoforum 111: 176-188, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2020.02.013
Nagy E, Gajzágó G, Mihály M, Molnárc E (2021) Crisis, institutional change and peripheral industrialization: Municipal-central state relations and changing dependencies in three old industrial towns of Hungary. Applied Geography 136, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2021.102576
#RinR22 #ChangeAgency #AgentsOfChange #Regions #Policy #CfP #Nonmetropolitan
 
Jan Píša
added a research item
Aktéři změny ve starých průmyslových městech Ústeckého kraje
Erika Nagy
added a research item
This paper aims to discuss radical changes, institutional responses and their socio-spatial consequences by focusing on reorganisation of institutional settings of local economic development after the global financial crisis (2008). We focus on the complexity of institutional change and social relations driving those in three old industrial towns (Dunaújváros, Martfű and Tatabánya in Hungary) that faced a functional, cognitive and political lock-in in the 1990s, and emerged as spaces of encounter of global production networks, governmental development policies and local society in the 2000s. This entailed a complex and dynamic assembly of various interests and strategies, providing a scope for local institutional experimentations that were interrupted by the global crisis and the resulting macro-structural changes. We place municipal agency, its uneasy, contested and changing relation to the central state in the focus. We discuss how the introduction of a new regulative system and institutional-spatial hierarchies in Hungary after the 2008 crisis enhanced central state power, and how that was mobilized to develop a new regime in which communities were losing control over their resources, and local assets were being channelled in peripheral industrialization orchestrated by the central government. Discussing municipal agency in a strategic-relational approach allows us to highlight the depth and multiple consequences of the crisis locally beyond market relations, giving an insight in the spatial rearrangement of power in relation to peripheral industrialization.
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
ACORE team has organised Special session SS26 at the 2021 Regions in Recovery Global E-Festival #RinR21. The second installment was chaired by Linda Stihl (Lund University)
  1. Stefanie Döringer, How Entrepreneurial Individuals Change Governance in Peripheral Towns: Towards a Middle-Range Theory of Governance Entrepreneurship;
  2. Antonio Fuster, Resilience of Industrial Districts: Lessons from the Great Recession;
  3. Jörn Harfst, Industrial Culture as an Agent of Change in (old) Industrial Regions?
  4. Robert Huggins, Agency and Regional Development: The Behavioural Principles of New Path Creation (https://events.rdmobile.com/Speakers/Details/1134270#:~:text=Agency%20and%20Regional%20Development%3A%20The%20Behavioural%20Principles%20of%20New%20Path%20Creation)
  5. Sandrine Labory, The Role of Dynamic Capabilities in Enabling New Path Development in Old Industrial Regions: The Case of Turin in Italy;
  6. Danko Simić, Industrial Culture as an Agent of Change in (old) Industrial Regions?
Link to the video recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_dOjjC-25Y
Highlights and Recordings section on the RSA website: https://www.regionalstudies.org/news/rinr-festival-highlights-and-recordings/
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
ACORE team has organised Special session SS26 at the 2021 Regions in Recovery Global E-Festival #RinR21. The first installment was chaired by Ani Saunders (Cardiff University).
  1. Franziska Görmar, Local Agency Unbounded: Policy Implications for (Former) Mining Towns in Europe;
  2. Jaroslav Koutský, Path Transformation in old Industrial Regions in Central Europe: The Case of the Automotive Industry;
  3. Robert Pollock The Omnipresent Architect: The Role of the State in Facilitating Agency in Lagging Regions;
  4. Linda Stihl Breaking Away from the set Path; how Change Agency Created new Paths in a Locked-in Region
  5. Jan Ženka, Economic linkages of Rural Manufacturing Firms in Old Industrial Regions
Highlights and Recordings section on the RSA website: https://www.regionalstudies.org/news/rinr-festival-highlights-and-recordings/
#RinR21
 
Ani Saunders
added an update
Ani Saunders presents at the AMPS 'Cities in a Changing World: Questions of Culture, Climate and Design' Virtual Conference in New York this week.
Title: The Rise of the Well-being Narrative in Old-Industrial Urban Regions in Wales
Abstract
As the suburbs spill and boundaries blur, the ideology of urbanisation and growth as core components of development continue to assert the notion that all roads (should) lead to Rome (the city), and this despite there being growing scepticism over the effectiveness of economistic approaches. Within the context of this paper, focus will be placed on presenting how this model of development has shaped old-industrial towns and cities - leading to increasing levels of inequality - and will highlight how and why some places are responding differently.
Examining the case study of Llanelli in Wales, UK, it considers how the town has adapted its approach without changing the structure of delivery, namely -the growth-driven City Deal. These large investment programmes between neighbouring regions are tasked with delivering projects, such as the proposed Pentre Awel Wellness and Life Science Village in Llanelli, that address specific regional weaknesses, in this case - unemployment and ill-health.
This innovative approach views improving well-being not only as the goal, but also as the mechanism for achieving it thereby challenging the economistic agendas of current development structures. As well as reflecting global trends, this case is also situated within a specific political context. The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 – the first of its kind in the world – places Wales at the forefront of theoretical development and policy design which amplifies the capacity of smaller regions to take a more equitable approach to urban development.
 
Linda Stihl
added a research item
How do regions change their development path? We contribute to the growing literature on agency in regional development by combining it with a focus on the institutions that shape, support and constrain change agency in pursuit of different types of development paths. We answer the call for micro-level perspectives on regional economic change, using an in-depth and comparative case study approach. The labour market region of Olofström-Karlshamn in South East Sweden experienced a period of exceptional decline following the economic crisis and crisis in the automotive industry in 2008, when more than 1000 jobs were lost in a labour market of 46,000. Within this single labour market, two municipalities perceived, experienced and handled the crisis very differently. In Olofström, this triggered the formation of new collaborations that enabled local actors to upgrade their development path, whereas the crisis did not greatly affect the already ongoing efforts aimed at path importation in Karlshamn. To explain this difference, our comparative study shows that the layering of formal and informal institutions produced unique institutional contexts at the local level, which guide the behaviour, collaboration and vision of local actors. We build on original, micro-level material from 23 interviews and supporting documents to make the following contributions to the growing literatures on the role of agency and institutions in shaping regional development paths: (i) Local institutional context conditions the activation of change agency; (ii) Change agency must be investigated – and performed – in close connection to its geographical context.
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Check out SS26. Agents of change in old-industrial regions of Europe (9 June 9.00-14.00)
Organisers: Nadir Kinossian and Franziska Görmar Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IFL), Germany; Ani Saunders and Kevin John Morgan Cardiff University School of Geography and Planning, UK; Markus Grillitsch and Linda Stihl CIRCLE, Lund University, Sweden
Social and spatial inequalities continue to attract attention to Europe’s ‘lagging’ regions. So-called left-behind places have attracted growing attention in academic and policy debates not least because of their role in the rise of anti-system voting (Rodríguez-Pose 2020). The dominant regional development discourses have attracted criticism indicating the need for new policy approaches and more dynamic interactions across government levels in policy design and implementation. Considering the great variety of structural conditions, development paths, institutional and governance settings in Europe’s lagging regions there is an urgent need for more granulated and place-sensitive policies (Lang and Görmar 2019).  In contrast to the existing approaches in evolutionary economic geography, we seek to understand the role of human agency in conceiving, initiating, implementing, and facilitating changes in regional development path. We conceptualise change not only as economic diversification, but also institutional and policy innovation, and change in quality of life (Grillitsch and Sotarauta 2020). We would like to establish how agents of change, while acting against structural forces and legacies, ‘break away’ from existing development paths. The idea of the special session is to discuss theoretical, methodological, and empirical aspects of agency and development path change within the geographical context of Europe’s old industrial regions. By bringing cases from various (regulative, regional, sectoral) contexts, we can understand how/why agencies and social relations behind those are spatially variegated (that could be identified as a driver of uneven development). Possible topics include the following: New development paths in old industrial regions in the context of non-metropolitan centres in old-industrial regions of Europe; New development paths and economic and social rebounding;  Possible conflicts and new dependencies and vulnerabilities generated by path change; Agents of change responsible for the creation of a new development path. How actors form agency of change and what sort of agency?  Spatial narratives, policies, institutional settings, organisational cultures, and decision-making structures affecting path change. Motivations, sources (human, social, financial capital) actors possess and enable them to make a change. How agents interact with broader political and institutional environments of multi-level governance and production chains/capital flows?  What concepts could be mobilised to grasp multiple spatialities of change in old industrial centres? Should we rethink the meanings of space, place and region through this lens?
Related Sessions
  • SS26 I. Agents of Change in Old-industrial Regions of Europe - Chair: Ani Saunders Wednesday, June 9, 2021, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM BST , Zoom
  • SS26 II. Agents of Change in Old-industrial Regions of Europe - Chair: Linda Stihl Wednesday, June 9, 2021, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM BST , Zoom
 
Jan Píša
added a research item
Economic restructuring of post-socialist countries during last three decades have caused significant spatial disparities in formerly relatively homogenous states of Central and Eastern Europe. Regions with strong concentration on heavy industries, once symbols of successful socialist industrialisation, have been especially affected by the turn to neoliberal globally integrated economy. However, despite the label of being lagging, problematic there are some agencies which contradict this perception and indicate new possible pathways of development (albeit on individual/firm rather than local or even regional level yet). From the spatial planning view, it is necessary to mobilise, reveal and support such ‘agents of change’ in order to intensify their activities which in turn brings new development impulses for a given locality. Within our contribution we would like to discuss their motivations, incentives and barriers for their agencies in the context of local structural conditions and institutional arrangement and within the multi-scale complexity of social relations. This will be based on case studies from old industrial towns in Ústí nad Labem Region in Czechia.
Erika Nagy
added an update
Panel 5: Reindustrialization and the agents of new centralities and peripheralities in non-metropolitan spaces of Central and Eastern Europe
file:///C:/Users/NAGY~1.ERI/AppData/Local/Temp/BASEES-EEGA%20Conference%20Programme.pdf
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
In this short video, our junior researchers Ani Saunders Jan Píša Franziska Görmar Melinda Mihály Linda Stihl talk about their case studies and experiences of doing research: https://youtu.be/WaLVDnhq9oU
Principal investigators and supervisors should also be mentioned: Vladan Hruška Kevin John Morgan Markus Grillitsch Erika Nagy Thilo Lang
As well as our generous sponsor: https://www.volkswagenstiftung.de/en/foundation
@VolkswagenSt
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
The main focus of ACORE is the agency of change in old industrial regions. This is important because many old industrial regions in Europe have been ‘left behind’ and became places of discontent. To address these issues, we need a better understanding of regional development, formation of new development paths, and the role of human agency in development path creation. We study cases in the East and the West to reflect on the diversity of Europe and to bridge the existing divides. These cases show the diversity of regional challenge in Europe. In spite of such diversity, there is something in common in these cases. All studied places face the challenge of creating a new path into the future. This can happen when local actors mobilize ideas, resources, and support across various economic and political networks. Often, agents of change have to act against various structural, institutional, and cultural legacies to create new perspectives and shared visions of future. The ACORE team Franziska Görmar Erika Nagy Kevin John Morgan Ani Saunders Markus Grillitsch Linda Stihl Melinda Mihály would like to share our ideas and findings.
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Consider submitting your abstract to the special session SS26. Agents of change in old-industrial regions of Europe (open session) organised by Franziska Görmar Kevin John Morgan Ani Saunders Markus Grillitsch and Nadir Kinossian
This special session is part of the RSA'a Regions in Recovery: Building Sustainable Futures - Global E-Festival (2-18 June 2021): https://www.regionalstudies.org/events/rinr2021/
Agents of Change in Old-industrial Regions project is funded by Volkswagen Stiftung @VolkswagenSt
Session description
Social and spatial inequalities continue to attract attention to Europe’s ‘lagging’ regions. So-called left-behind places have attracted growing attention in academic and policy debates not least because of their role in the rise of anti-system voting (Rodríguez-Pose 2020). The dominant regional development discourses have attracted criticism indicating the need for new policy approaches and more dynamic interactions across government levels in policy design and implementation. Considering the great variety of structural conditions, development paths, institutional and governance settings in Europe’s lagging regions there is an urgent need for more granulated and place-sensitive policies (Lang and Görmar 2019). In contrast to the existing approaches in evolutionary economic geography, we seek to understand the role of human agency in conceiving, initiating, implementing, and facilitating changes in regional development path. We conceptualise change not only as economic diversification, but also institutional and policy innovation, and change in quality of life (Grillitsch and Sotarauta 2020). We would like to establish how agents of change, while acting against structural forces and legacies, ‘break away’ from existing development paths. The idea of the special session is to discuss theoretical, methodological, and empirical aspects of agency and development path change within the geographical context of Europe’s old industrial regions. By bringing cases from various (regulative, regional, sectoral) contexts, we can understand how/why agencies and social relations behind those are spatially variegated (that could be identified as a driver of uneven development). Possible topics include the following: New development paths in old industrial regions in the context of non-metropolitan centres in old-industrial regions of Europe; New development paths and economic and social rebounding; Possible conflicts and new dependencies and vulnerabilities generated by path change; Agents of change responsible for the creation of a new development path. How actors form agency of change and what sort of agency? Spatial narratives, policies, institutional settings, organisational cultures, and decision-making structures affecting path change. Motivations, sources (human, social, financial capital) actors possess and enable them to make a change. How agents interact with broader political and institutional environments of multi-level governance and production chains/capital flows? What concepts could be mobilised to grasp multiple spatialities of change in old industrial centres? Should we rethink the meanings of space, place and region through this lens?
References
Important deadlines
  • Special Session proposals – extended until 9th February 2021
  • Bursary applications – 1st March 2021
  • Abstract submission – 17th March 2021
  • Abstract acceptance confirmation – 7th April 2021
#RinR21 #placesleftbehind #placesthatdontmatter
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
See Markus Grillitsch talking about Trinity of change agency:
Grillitsch, M., & Sotarauta, M. (2019). Trinity of change agency, regional development paths and opportunity spaces. Progress in Human Geography
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Agents of change (and stability) have been in focus of a recent study by Maria Gunko Elena Batunova Ksenia Averkieva Galina Pivovar and Nadir Kinossian titled Exploring agency of change in small industrial towns through urban renewal initiatives.
Check out: Maria Gunko, Nadir Kinossian, Galina Pivovar, Kseniya Averkieva & Elena Batunova (2021) Exploring agency of change in small industrial towns through urban renewal initiatives, Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, DOI: 10.1080/04353684.2020.1868947
 
Nadir Kinossian
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An open-access paper titled Does the timing of integrating new skills affect start‐up growth? has been published by Markus Grillitsch and Torben Schubert in Strategic Entrpreneurship Journal. Please follow the link:
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Our project partners at Lund advertise a job: Associate Senior Lecturer in Human Geography https://lu.varbi.com/en/what:job/jobID:361236/type:job/where:4/apply:1#.X6v7mkwuco4.linkedin
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Congratulations to Kevin John Morgan on a new paper entitled Evolving geographies of innovation: existing paradigms, critiques and possible alternatives. Lars Coenen & Kevin Morgan (2020) Evolving geographies of innovation: existing paradigms, critiques and possible alternatives, Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift - Norwegian Journal of Geography, 74:1, 13-24, DOI: 10.1080/00291951.2019.1692065
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
The second St. Petersburg International Conference on Inequality and Diversity (IDC 2020) took place online in conjunction with the #RSA global conference from 5-7 Nov 2020. Watch Nadir Kinossian's presentation on Conceptualizing Agency of Change in Non-core Regions at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBQ0PrQfD6k&feature=youtu.be (from 27:40). Presentation file is also attached.
 
Jan Píša
added a research item
Navzdory podobným geografickým podmínkám i historickému vývoji lze pozorovat značnou vnitřní i vnější heterogenitu napříč starými průmyslovými regiony. Snahy o řešení problémů vyplývajících z úpadku někdejších klíčových odvětví ve formě státních, a dokonce mezinárodních regulací často naráží na omezenou absorpční kapacitu těchto regionů, což souvisí s jejich specifickou sociální i ekonomickou strukturou, institucionálním prostředím a lidským kapitálem. A právě rozdílný způsob jednání lokálních aktérů může být klíčovým faktorem diverzity uvnitř starých průmyslových regionů. Cílem tohoto příspěvku je diskutovat koncept change agency (volně lze přeložit jako jednání člověka vedoucí ke změně) z pohledu sociologického i regionálně rozvojového pojetí změny. Tu lze chápat jako výsledek napětí mezi strukturou a jednáním, ve kterém hraje důležitou roli podoba institucionálního prostředí daného regionu anebo lokality. Zároveň je ale možné změnu vnímat jako vývojový proces, jehož výsledek do značné míry závisí na minulé orientaci regionu (slovy evoluční ekonomické geografie - na zvolené cestě), která má vliv nejen na infrastrukturu, znalosti a ekonomickou výkonnost, ale i na společenské a mocenské vztahy a image regionu. Změna je tedy nejen komplexní, ale rovněž normativní z pohledu různých zájmů a širokého spektra aktérů napříč měřítky a sférami.
Erika Nagy
added an update
Grandi, S., Sellar, Ch. and Jafri, J. (eds.): Geofinance between Political and Financial Geographies: A Focus on the Semi-Periphery of the Global Financial System. (Cheltenham–Northampton, Edward Elgar, 2019)
A book review by Erika Nagy
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 69(2): 213-217.
 
Nadir Kinossian
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Congratulations to Markus Grillitsch and Markku Sotarauta on a publication in Progress in Human Geography.
Abstract
The study of regional growth paths is a key theme in economic geography and of elemental interest for regional development. This paper addresses the interplay between path-dependent, structural forces and the construction and utilization of opportunities through agentic processes. Extending the evolutionary framework, it is argued that not only history but also perceived futures influence agentic processes in the present and thus shape regional development paths. The paper discusses the relevance and interdependencies of three types of agency with distinct theoretical roots, namely Schumpeterian innovative entrepreneurship, institutional entrepreneurship and place-based leadership, as main drivers of regional structural change.
Reference: Grillitsch, M., and Sotarauta, M. (2019) Trinity of change agency, regional development paths and opportunity spaces. Progress in Human Geography. https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132519853870
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Kevin John Morgan speaks at the Coffee Break with Researchers about state capacity, innovation, and regional development. Watch the video and read the interview transcript here: http://www.coffeebreakwithresearchers.org/kevin-morgan-the-public-animateur-mission-led-innovation-and-the-smart-state-in-europe/
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Due to the restrictions on travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic, ACORE Cardiff team Ani Saunders and Kevin John Morgan have organised an online project meeting. All project teams have participated in the meeting and contributed to the discussion on the progress of individual projects and the joint research work.
The first-day programme focused on individual projects. Each researcher Franziska Görmar Jan Píša Linda Stihl Ani Saunders Melinda Mihály gave a brief account of the advancement of her/his research project, including advancing the theoretical argument, refining research questions, and settling the methodological framework. Moreover, they have summarised the progress of their empirical work and presented field work progress, with a view of entering the analysis stage in 2020, as well as linking findings to planned publication and other dissemination activities.
The discussion that followed the presentations revolved around the following key themes:
(i) conceptual issues such as defining change and development, relations of narratives and real-world processes, scalar-relational understanding of agency, and relating in-depth, locally-focused analysis to wider processes of change;
(ii) Operationalising change, agency, structure and dealing issues of lagging indicator and attribution;
(iii) problems of methodology such as choosing and combining relevant methods to grasp dynamic structure-agency relations, addressing gaps of data, and reflecting on the positionality of researcher and research ethics.
The second-day discussion focused on the overarching themes, joint publication and disseminations activities, and shared issues that researcher face during various stages of project work. The following topic appeared prominently in the discussion.
(i) developing the common conceptual framework further in order to respond to emerging issues, such as: agents and their relations, balancing national/locally focused case studies, and the overall international comparative approach;
(ii) reflecting upon the emergent situations, such as the pandemic and its consequences, the Brexit;
(iii) planning and preparing joint publication activities, including an edited volume and a special issue.
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
An open access paper titled Agency and actors in regional industrial path development. A framework and longitudinal analysis by Markus Grillitsch and co-authors. has been published in Geoforum. This is a link to the article:
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
The second ACORE project meeting was held in Lund on 11-12 September, 2019. Please check out the update on the project web-site: https://acore-project.eu/2019/09/23/project-meeting-in-lund-11-12-september-2019/
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
This workshop focused on diffusion of innovation at the regional and firm levels. While innovation is a key factor of productivity and long-term growth, the ability to innovate varies across regions and organisations and depends on the capacity to absorb external knowledge, the size of a firm, regional knowledge base, and institutional capacity of a region. As a rule, SMEs are not as innovative as 'frontier' firms because they are constrained by limited resources, the rigidity of the labour market, and poor connections to other firms and research centres. At the regional level, barriers to innovation diffusion include path-dependence and various lock-ins.
From ACORE's perspective, research should engage more actively with less developed regions and sectors, instead of focusing on leading regions and frontier firms (and expecting 'lagging' regions and firms to catch up and replicate their success). We treat peripherality as a complex condition that involves multiple dependencies between ‘centres’ and ‘peripheries'. To understand the process of novelty creation in less developed regions, ACORE conceptualises innovation as inclusive, socially embedded, and actor-driven. Innovation should not be confined to firms, products, and processes but also include areas of governance, institutional design, and policy.
 
Erika Nagy
added an update
The Network of Hungarian Economic Geographers and the Centre for Economic and Regional Studies/horizontal network for studying socio-spatial inequalities co-organised a workshop on the recovery on old industrial towns in non-metropolitan regions on the 9th of December 2019, in Békéscsaba. The discussion was focused on:
(i) The key agents of industrial restructuring , their changing positions and local and extra-local relations;
(ii) Social restructuring related to industrial recovery;
(iii) The responses of local agents to emerging social and environmental conflicts.
The discussion rested on extensive field works in Martű (shoes/leather and food industry); Dunaújváros (metallurgy) and Tatabánya (transition for a mining and heavy industry into a diversified structure), presented by Ernő Molnár (University of Debrecen), Gergő Gajzágó (Széchenyi University, Győr) and Melinda Mihály (CERS). The panel was chaired and moderated by Erika Nagy (CERS). The workshop shall be followed by a joint paper on the agents of industrial change in small and medium sized towns in Hungary.
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Nadir Kinossian will present #ACORE at the OECD workshop on "Innovation diffusion across regions and firms" (13.12.19, Paris). The focus is on regional barriers to innovation and productivity and levers to overcome them. The outcome will feed into the work of the OECD.
#OECD_local
 
Erika Nagy
added a research item
A városi terek fogyasztásközpontú átalakítása, a folyamat szereplői és viszonyrendszereik a társadalmi-térbeli egyenlőtlenségek kritikai megközelítésű kutatásának fontos kérdéskörévé vált az utóbbi két évtizedben. A fogyasztás dinamikus társadalmi viszonyrendszerként történő értelmezéséből kiindulva – amellyel egyszerre ragadható meg a fennálló társadalmi struktúrák működése, kulturális logikája, és az egyén (mint fogyasztó) ezekre adott válasza – az állam piaci szabályozó-ellenőrző szerepét, pontosabban ennek és társadalmi-térbeli egyenlőtlenségeket „termelő” mechanizmusait mutatjuk be a magyarországi (posztszocialista) átmenet és „perifériás” kapitalizmus kontextusában. Koncepciónkban az állam a piaci szereplők közötti viszonyok alakítója szabályozók és intézményi gyakorlatok révén, amelyek lenyomatai az állam működését formáló társadalmi/hatalmi-térbeli viszonyoknak. Az állam fogyasztáshoz kapcsolódó, egyenlőtlenségeket „termelő” szerepe több térbeli léptékben és dimenzióban is megragadható, tanulmányunkban azonban a városi terekben zajló folyamatokra koncentrálunk. Elemzésünk empirikus része győri esettanulmányra épül, amelynek során kvalitatív módszerekkel próbáltuk feltárni a helyi állam és a többi szereplő viszonyát. A tanulmányban a mellett érvelünk, hogy (i) a fogyasztás szervezeti és térbeli kereteit alakító szabályozás alapvetően a városi gazdaságok/terek fogyasztásközpontú átalakítása irányába hatott, az ebben résztvevők körét a piaci szelekcióra „bízva”; ii) az előbbi folyamatok eredményként kialakult koniktusok egyrészt lassan és inkonzisztens módon formálódó állami szabályozás, és a mögötte húzódó, tőke/állam kapcsolatok metszetében, másrészt a központi állam/lokális állam változó viszonyrendszerében értelmezhetők; (iii) a városi terek fogyasztásközpontú átrendeződésében fölfedezhető a (perifériás kapitalizmusra jellemző) függőségi viszonyok bonyolult rendszere, ami a „sikeresnek” tekintett városok helyi szereplőinek mozgásterét is behatárolja.
Franziska Görmar
added a research item
Growing socio-economic disparities between prosperous metropolitan regions and rural, peripheral, and old-industrial regions pose a threat to Europe’s long-term stability and EU goals of social cohesion. Old-industrial regions outside of bigger agglomerations have been particularly affected by contingent processes of economic restructuring including parallel trends of de- and reindustrialization and often combined with demographic shrinkage and outmigration. Thus, the question evolves how old industrial regions located outside major agglomerations can defy the unfavorable conditions and trends and create new development paths leading to prosperity and well-being, contributing to social cohesion and stability of Europe as a whole. This question is at the heart of transnational project ‘Agents of Change in Old Industrial Regions of Europe’ (ACORE) project whose focus is on the ‘front line’ of regional change — actors instrumental for conceiving and creating new development paths and linking actors located in different institutional contexts. The contribution examines the role of these agents of change within these development processes, their visions of the future for a particular region and the narratives used to promote these visions. It is argued that narratives have a strong legitimizing power, influence the negotiations about a region’s future development and, once institutionalized, shape the path taken by the region. These more theoretical questions are illustrated by some first insights into the development of Zeitz in Saxony-Anhalt being one of the German case studies.
Jan Píša
added a research item
My contribution is based on the Agent of Change in Old-industrial Regions in Europe (ACORE) project, in which we focus on the role of actors who bring change in old-industrial regions. Despite general perception of old-industrial cities/regions as lagging, their development is not unified and diverse development trajectories can be observed despite similar cultural, institutional and historical background. While some towns suffer from job losses in declining industries over the long term, other localities may use its industrial past as a good opportunity for creating new development paths. In the ACORE project, we discuss how positive changes in old-industrial towns emerge and open the opportunity window for new development and which actors do initiate them. However, important research questions arise during our examination: who are the actors bringing the change? And more importantly, WHAT is actually the change? In my opinion, this question is relevant and my contribution can help to better understand transformation and institutional change (point where institutional approaches often fail) and support new agency-oriented approaches. Within my presentation I will determine various kinds of changes which were inherent in the post-socialist transformation of two old industrial towns Děčín and Teplice situated in Czechia. First, it will be discussed, how to reveal in the context of the ACORE project the 'significant' changes and how to separate them from the 'usual and quotidian' transformations which bring rather evolutionary character of the change in the selected towns. Second, the character of selected changes will be discussed – Who initiated them? How? For whom?
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Please consider submitting an extended abstract to our special session on "Innovation and Regional Transformation: Change Agency and Opportunity Spaces" at the 5th Geography of Innovation Conference, 29-31/1/2020 in Stavanger. The Call for Papers closes on August 31.
Use this link for submission: http://geoinno2020.com/submit/
More information about the special session can be found here: http://geoinno2020.com/change-agency-and-opportunity-spaces/
Markus Grillitsch, Nadir Kinossian & Markku Sotarauta
 
Kevin John Morgan
added a research item
The primary aim of this article is to reprise the debate about the role and competence of the state in innovation and development, building on the contributions of new industrial policy. The paper then examines the experience of one of the most ambitious mission-led innovation programmes ever launched in Europe, the Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) programme, which has been influenced by industrial policy ideas. The paper also identifies a number of challenges facing the S3 programme, particularly in the less developed regions of the European Union, where these challenges are most pronounced.
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
The call for papers for the 5th Geography of Innovation Conference is now open
We invite authors to submit extended abstracts for the special session on Innovation and Regional Transformation: Change Agency and Opportunity Spaces organised by Markus Grillitsch Nadir Kinossian and Markku Sotarauta
We welcome submissions of full papers and extended abstracts (minimum three pages). All submissions (regular and special sessions) must be made electronically via this website. Deadline: 31st August 2019
All submissions will be peer-reviewed: For regular sessions, papers and extended abstracts will be reviewed by a members of the scientific or  organising committee. For special sessions, papers and extended abstracts will be reviewed by the special session organisers. The results will be sent individually to each submitting author.
Conference web site: http://geoinno2020.com/about/
 
Jan Píša
added a research item
Omezení regionálních disparit napříč Evropou je jedním z hlavních cílů rozvojových politik EU, rozdíly mezi regiony i lokalitami v rámci jednotlivých regionů však nadále přetrvávají. Nerovnoměrná adaptabilita vůči transformačním procesům je patrná rovněž v prostředí starých průmyslových měst. Rozvojové bariéry a výchozí podmínky lze napříč těmito městy považovat za srovnatelné, a přesto na jedné straně pozorujeme města schopná těžit ze svých dlouhodobých předností, nebo nově objevených příležitostí, ale zároveň na straně druhé mnohé zaostávající lokality trpící nedostatkem ekonomické i společenské aktivity. Zdá se, že k pochopení těchto nerovnoměrných tendencí a odhalení podstaty změn v rozvojové trajektorii měst a celého regionu může přispět hlubší objasnění role lokálních aktérů – jednotlivců i skupin v kontextu jejich pozice napříč měřítky jejich působení, dlouhodobého vývoje lokality a příležitostí i bariér rozvoje, jejichž význam se v jednotlivých městech může lišit. Ačkoli jsou postindustriální města severozápadních Čech a jejich zázemí často vnímána jako jednolitý „strukturálně postižený“ region skomírající hnědouhelné těžby a více či méně navazujících průmyslů, lze díky jejich vzájemné komparaci předpokládat relativně značnou diverzitu. Na základě porovnání vybraných dat z oblasti ekonomiky, politického a společenského života byly vybrány dvě modelové lokality pro výzkum rolí aktérů změny – Děčín a Teplice, jejichž vývoj lze vzhledem ke zkoumaným charakteristikám považovat za relativně pozitivní. Detailní výzkum těchto lokalit napomůže celkové konceptualizaci role aktérů změny, jejichž činnost může být klíčovým důvodem nerovnoměrného rozvoje postindustriálních měst.
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
A new paper titled NEW RESEARCH AGENDA: AGENTS OF CHANGE IN PERIPHERAL REGIONS was published in Baltic Worlds as a part of the special section Life in the Archipelago.
Published in the printed edition of Baltic Worlds BW 2019:2 pp 61-66. Published on balticworlds.com on Juni 18, 2019 Link: http://balticworlds.com/new-research-agenda/
 
Nadir Kinossian
added a research item
The problems of peripheries are complex and cannot be solved by traditional economic measures alone. There is no doubt that market forces play a role in defining winners and losers, but so do our understandings of spatial problems, economic development, and cohesion policies. Current approaches praise large cities and metropolitan areas as countries’ principal engines of growth, while all places in between large cities, including rural, remote, and former industrial regions, are deemed less productive and seen as a burden to more privileged areas. In that respect, peripheral should be defined not only by geographical proximity to urban centers or transport networks, but also by political marginalization, various dependencies on the centers of power, and cultural stigmatization. The complexity of the problem is that, on the one hand, peripheral regions are sidelined and marginalized; on the other, they still accommodate sizable populations and provide various resources, including clean water, recreational spaces, and agricultural land, on which metropolitan regions are highly dependent. There are many arguments, including political, economic, environmental, and ethical, that indicate the economic potential and important roles that peripheral regions play for the wellbeing of countries as a whole. Yet, achieving positive changes is not a simple task.
Franziska Görmar
added 2 research items
This book aims at exploring the notion of Industrial Culture in a Central European context, summarizing research results from the InduCult2.0 project (www.inducult.eu), which focused on Industrial Culture as a way of reviving (old) industrial regions and fostering the pioneer spirit. The academic institutions in the project, along with the eight regional project partners and their activities, framed the term of ‘Industrial Culture’ through various outputs and publications. The project’s aim was to conceptualise the term in the field of urban and regional development, specifically in small and medium-sized towns in Central Europe. This publication presents the main results of the project activities and research results. The project was co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund via the INTERREG CENTRAL programme (2016-2019).
The term periphery is often linked to dominant images of rural areas, mainly portrayed as backward, unattractive and shrinking regions or as idyllic tourist destinations. These labels are also assigned to actors in these regions and add a discursive element to economic, demographic and political peripheralization. The underlying discourses on such regions and their 'passive' residents are often seen as the outcome of uneven power relations and access to resources. However, actors in peripheral regions cannot be seen as passive victims of processes beyond their control but do hold capacities to act bearing potentials for strategic development that are often overlooked in political decision making. The contributions of the themed section suggest that 'peripheral' actors can rely on social interaction, communication, networking and coalition building as well as supportive institutional environments to respond to or oppose peripheralization. So far, empirical research has mainly focused on how peripheralization processes are (re-)produced on multiple scales. Based on extensive qualitative research in peripheral regions in Central and Eastern Europe and the United Kingdom the contributions of this themed section shift the attention to the strategies of actors on local levels to cope with peripheralization. Based on heterogeneous forms of agency this allows for the creation of new "spaces of possibility".
Erika Nagy
added an update
Consumption-centred urban restructuring was a powerful process that re-shaped everyday life and the frameworks of social production moreover, set up the scene to develop and practice newly emerging consumer-citizenship in the eastern periphery of Europe. Such processes were fed not only by the post-shortage contexts of CEE countries and the influx of capital in urban property markets, but also by neoliberal policies employed at various (EU, national and local) scales. Yet ongoing conceptual debates on consumption spaces, state restructuring and citizenship has scarcely been linked and mobilized to understand how inequalities and marginalities are being produced in a this very (European/peripheral) context.
In the proposed paper, we focus on state/capital, local state/central state and local state/community nexuses in the process of local place making in two dynamic urban centres (Győr and Tatabánya) in Hungary. We argue for that (i) the key driver of the socially highly selective urban restructuring was the spatial logic of capital that was promoted not only by neoliberal sectoral policies but (very actively) by local state regulations and development schemes even though, the latter confronted local interests and conflicts in daily institutional praxis; (ii) municipal actions and policies are embedded in a complex geometry of power and limited by state rescaling processes (recentralization), the grip of national party politics and the agents of global capital that all manifest the peripherality of non-metropolitan spaces of CEE; (iii) yet consumption-centred urban restructuring raised ‘unexpected’ resistance that grew a source of local citizenship alien to the emerging authoritarian regime.
 
Franziska Görmar
added an update
Poster presentation at the conference "Schlüsselakteure in der Regionalentwicklung" of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna dealing with the topic on narratives and visions of the future and their role in negotiations about change
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Please check out ACORE's case studies! Information on the web site has been updated: https://acore-project.eu/case-studies/ There are descriptions for Tatabánya, Tiszaújváros, Kiruna, Teplice, Wrexham, and Zeitz. Four more cases will be added soon to make it ten in total. #acore
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Sessions and abstracts for the NGM 2019 Meeting in Trondheim are now available to download from the conference web site https://www.ntnu.edu/geography/sessions. Please check out the contributions of Robert Hassink , Linda Stihl , Markus Grillitsch , Franziska Görmar to Session M18 on Regional development paths and critical junctures.
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
All five researcher's posts have now been filled. Please welcome Franziska Görmar , Ani Saunders , Melinda Mihály , Linda Stihl and Jan Píša as an integral part of ACORE's team!
 
Thilo Lang
added a research item
Periods of ongoing growth in the economy and demographics have come to a halt for many European regions for various reasons, challenging their economic development prospects. Despite the heterogeneous nature of stagnation, decline, peripheralisation or even stigmatisation to be found there, these configurations 'beyond growth' have in common that short-term 'fire-fighting' policy approaches aiming to foster regional economic growth face some important limitations. We argue that this has to do, among other things, with the overall direction of established and orthodox planning approaches that are predominantly based on growth-oriented paradigms and implicitly or explicitly work with dichotomous categories such as core-periphery, metropolitan versus non-metropolitan spaces, etc.; these do, however, not capture local realities in these cases. Using the notion of non-core regions, we plead for conceptualising non-core regions and their regional economic development trajectories in different ways: thinking 'beyond growth'. Such alternative ideas should be informed by alternative understandings of growth, development, and sustainability in order to influence theories and concepts, but also to support new approaches to planning practice. To this aim, we discuss non-core regions from a social constructivist perspective, elaborating some points of departure for conceptualising and practising regional planning 'beyond growth'. 3
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Check out our paper session at the Nordic Geography Meeting 2019: https://www.ifl-leipzig.de/en/news/events/detail/article/nordic-geographers-meeting-2019.html
Presenters include ACORE's participants Markus Grillitsch Linda Stihl Franziska Görmar and Nadir Kinossian.
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
We are very happy to have Professor Robert Hassink as a keynote speaker at the Opening Workshop of the ACORE project (25-26 February, 2019, the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Leipzig). The topic of the talk is "Locked in Lock-Ins? Theorizing on the Restructuring of Old Industrial Regions".
Robert Hassink is Professor of Economic Geography at Kiel University in Germany (www.wigeo.uni-kiel.de) and Visiting Professor in the School of Geography, Politics & Sociology at Newcastle University, UK. His research focuses on theories and paradigms of economic geography, industrial restructuring and regional economic development, creative industries, and regional innovation policy.
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Check out this new book by the project participants. Follow the link: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-981-13-1190-1#toc
It is open access!
It is part of the New Georgaphies of Europe series https://link.springer.com/bookseries/14740
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Dear all,
Please consider this CfP for the NGM 2019 in Trondheim, Norway (June 16-19, 2019), for a paper session Regional development paths and critical junctures.
Session organisers:
Dr Markus Grillitsch, Department of Human Geography & CIRLCE - Center for Innovation Research and Competence in a Learning Economy, Lund University;
Dr Nadir Kinossian, Department of Regional Geography of Europe, the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL)@
Regional development paths and critical junctures
This session will explore possible linkages between the current debates in (1) regional path development studies, and (2) critical junctures and window of opportunity studies. Structural factors such as industrial composition, the size of the economy, or the level of infrastructure can only partly explain regional development paths. Changes in politics, policy, and institutions can be explained by analysing the behaviour of actors. If we presuppose that the establishment of a new regional development path is an outcome of a critical juncture in economic or institutional development, we could use the critical juncture literature to explain the mechanism of such change.
This session invites contributions that i) disentangle the effects of structure and agency on regional economic change; ii) link institutional change and regional development, and iii) focus on the micro-level processes, agents and their networks. Contributing to this line of inquiry, this session invites papers that address the following questions:
· To what extent, under which conditions, and how can agency contribute to regional growth paths beyond what could be expected due to structural preconditions?
· How can critical junctures and window of opportunity models be used to analyse regional path development?
· Which processes within and beyond firms underpin regional growth paths?
· What are the causal factors explaining new path development in (different types of) regions?
· How do different regional industrial paths interplay and shape regional growth paths?
· What is the role of policy in shaping regional growth paths?
Please send an abstract of around 300 words to: markus.grillitsch@keg.lu.se and n_kinossian@ifl-leipzig.de
Deadline for abstract submission: December 15, 2018
Notification: January 15, 2019
More information from the conference web site: https://www.ntnu.edu/geography/ngm-2019
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
The IfL invites applications for the position of Scientific Researcher (PhD-position, TV-L 13, 65%, 36 months)
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Jan Evangelista Purkyně University (Ústí nad Labem, Czechia) (www.ujep.cz) invites applications from qualified and motivated candidates for the position of: Early stage researcher (0.75 FTE)
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
The project web site is up and running. Check it out! https://acore-project.eu/
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Our project partners advertise a PhD position within the Agents of Change project. Deadline for the receipt of applications: 15.Nov.2018 https://lu.mynetworkglobal.com/en/what:job/jobID:227763/type:job/where:4/apply:1
 
Nadir Kinossian
added an update
Soon 5 PhD Researcher positions will be advertised.
Agents of Change in Old-industrial Regions in Europe (ACORE) is an international joint research project funded by the Volkswagen Foundation with a 925.200 Euro grant. The duration of the project is 36 months (01.01.2019 - 31.12.2021).
The project is coordinated by the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL) and includes the following project partners:
· Dr Nadir Kinossian, Project Leader, the IfL (Germany);
· Dr Markus Grillitsch, Lund University (Sweden);
· Dr Vladan Hruška, Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem (Czechia);
· Dr Erika Nagy, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Hungary);
· Professor Kevin Morgan, Cardiff University (UK)
Each partner institution will advertise one salaried position of a PhD Researcher for the duration of the project. If you are interested, please monitor project partner institutions job sections. I will also post further updates here.
 
Thilo Lang
added an update
Project partners will announce 5 PhD-positions in Cardiff (UK), Lund (SE), Bekescsaba (HU), Usti (CZ) and Leipzig (DE) soon. Project start is foreseen for 1 January 2019.
 
Nadir Kinossian
added a project goal
Growing socio-economic disparities between prosperous metropolitan regions and poor rural, peripheral, and old-industrial regions pose a threat to Europe’s long-term stability and EU goals of social cohesion. The main ambition of ‘Agents of Change’ is to investigate how old industrial regions located outside major agglomerations can defy the unfavourable conditions and trends and create new development paths leading to prosperity and well-being, contributing to social cohesion and stability of Europe as a whole.