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Title: In-migrant networks and knowledge economies in the rural North East of England
Author: Cowie, Paul John
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2013
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Over the last few decades there have been various efforts at stemming the seemingly inexorable decline of rural economies, particularly in terms of employment and skills, and to prevent rural areas becoming heritage areas or dormitories for an urban workforce. Initially efforts to revitalise the rural economy were focused on farm diversification and/or tourism based activities. More recently interest has turned to the knowledge economy, and in particular promoting in-migration to rural areas by entrepreneurs working in knowledge intensive industries as a way of stimulating the rural economy. At the same time rural development policy has shifted away from a focus on sectoral support to area based development policies. This is particularly true of European rural development policies such as Objective 5b and LEADER. The rationale underlying this type of policy intervention is that area based development policy works by building civic and economic capacity in an area. This assumes the social and business networks in an area are interconnected and mutually supportive. Little is understood about whether this is in fact the case and to what extent the social and business networks overlap and interact in a way that supports rural development. This thesis investigates biographical accounts of in-migrants in the rural North East who have started businesses in the knowledge economy. These entrepreneurs are undertaking two significant changes in their lives, the move to a rural area and the shift from employment to self-employment. This thesis seeks to understand how these various changes are effecting rural economies and communities in the North East of England. The biographical nature of the research allows the entire event, both the lead up to the move and subsequent life after the move, to be considered. Using Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice as a framework of analysis, the nature of the entrepreneur’s integration into the local community, both socially and as a business person, is examined along with the various networks they engage with. The research has found interesting differences between the way in which entrepreneurs privilege social and cultural capital over economic capital in certain circumstances and strive to maintain a distance between their personal social networks and business social networks to minimise the risk of damage to social and cultural capital. This separation means there is little interaction between migrant entrepreneurs and local business people in a way that would result in local spill-over affects. The findings also highlight an interesting issue around the nature of terms such as ‘creative’ and ‘knowledge’ economies and how these concepts have come to mean a specific form of development, what Bourdieu would consider to be an act of symbolic violence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council ; Regional Development Agency One North East
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available