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Title: The production and communication of regional space in the North East of England : a conceptual analysis of a regional assembly and regional development agency
Author: Lewis, Simon
ISNI:       0000 0001 3609 131X
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis examines Lefebvre's theory of the 'production of space' and Habermas's theory of 'communicative action' in relation to the interactions of two regional governmental organisations in the North East of England, the regional development agency One North East and the North East Assembly. In a conceptually-driven approach, these theories are developed and integrated into a framework which is used to analyse the spatial narratives and discourses that are promoted by the organisations in attempting to legitimate their respective claims to regional space. Informed by a three year work placement at the North East Assembly, the thesis provides insights into the production and communication of regional space via an heuristic application of the theoretical framework to three case studies which investigate the 'storylines' behind the 2005 draft regional economic and spatial strategies and two North East Assembly scrutiny investigations into Regional Leadership and Evidence and Regional Policy. There were significant communicative distortions and power imbalances in the interactions of One North East and the North East Assembly, which resulted partly from the nature of their working relationship but also from the effects of wider governance processes and cultures. This is seen to have created particular conditions of 'communicative meta-governmentality' that contributed to the production of a dominant economic and administrative spatial discourse, hindering the Assembly in establishing its claims to regional space. In light of this, it is argued that the Assembly created 'illusionary spaces of participation and representation' that failed to give it genuine integrity or credibility in and beyond the region. The thesis finishes with a look towards future regional arrangements following significant recent policy developments and suggests that there might be potential for positive change through the development of 'arenas of hope' based upon 'lived' and 'popular' spaces.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available