Governmental rationalities and the local dimension of European politics : A study of the Interreg IV programme ”Alpenrhein-Bodensee-Hochrhein”

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201703271703
Title: Governmental rationalities and the local dimension of European politics : A study of the Interreg IV programme ”Alpenrhein-Bodensee-Hochrhein”
Author: Gratt, Benno
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Politiikan ja talouden tutkimuksen laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political and Economic Studies
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för politik och ekonomi
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2011
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201703271703
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/26598
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Political Science, Administration and Organisations
Yleinen valtio-oppi, hallinnon ja organisaatioiden tutkimuksen linja
Allmän statslära, förvaltnings- och organisationsforskning
Abstract: The thesis aims at investigating the local dimension of the EU cohesion policy through the utilization of an alternative approach, which aims at the analysis of discourse and structures of power. The concrete case under analysis is the Interreg IV programme 'Alpenrhein-Bodensee-Hochrhein', which is conducted in the border region between Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the principality of Liechtenstein. The main research question is stated as such: What governmental rationalities can be found at work in the field of EU cross-border cooperation programmes? How is directive action and cooperation envisioned? How coherent are the different rationalities, which are found at work? The theoretical framework is based on a Foucaultian understanding of power and discourse and utilizes the notion of governmentalities as a way to de-stabilize the understanding of directive action and in order to highlight the dispersed and heterogeneous nature of governmental activity. The approach is situated within the general field of research on the European Union connected to basic conceptualisations such as the nature of power, the role of discourse and modes of subjectification. An approach termed 'analytics of government', based on the work of researchers like Mitchell Dean is introduced as the basic framework for the analysis. Four dimensions (visiblities, subjectivities, techniques/practices, problematisations) are presented as a set of tools with which governmental regimes of practices can be analysed. The empirical part of the thesis starts out with a discussion of the general framework of the European Unions cohesion policy and places the Interreg IV Alpenrhein-Bodensee-Hochrhein programme in this general context. The main analysis is based on eleven interviews which were conducted with different individuals, participating in the programme on different levels. The selection of interview partners aimed at maximising heterogeneity through including individuals from all parts of the programme region, obtaining different functions within the programme. The analysis reveals interesting aspects pertaining to the implementation and routine aspects of work within initiatives conducted under the heading of the EU cohesion policy. The central aspects of an Interreg IV Alpenrhein-Bodensee-Hochrhein – governmentality are sketched out. This includes a positive perception of the work atmosphere, administrative/professional characterisation of the selves and a de-politicization of the programme. Characteristic is the experience of tensions by interview partners and the use of discoursive strategies to resolve them. Negative perceptions play an important role for the specific governmental rationality. The thesis contributes to a better understanding of the local dimension of the European Union cohesion policy and questions established ways of thinking about governmental activity. It provides an insight into the working of power mechanisms in the constitution of fields of discourse and points out matters of practical importance as well as subsequent research questions.


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