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Title: The changing politics of local and regional development and governance in Romania
Authors: Biniakos, Michail
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis investigates the extent to which a move from a planned to a market economy has changed the nature and character of local and regional development and government in Romania. In the aftermath of the collapse of the ‘Iron Curtain’, the swift towards a market economy and democracy by the ex-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe triggered a vast process of change that affected all aspects of social life across different many levels. In spite of the complexity of these changes, and the general realisation that local and regional policies are determined from place to place and overtime according to specific domestic characteristics and political decisions the nature of which will also depend on the time and the place of their execution and implementation, most scholarly analyses remain entrapped within existing theoretical ‘orthodoxies’ and research gaps. In this thesis, various theories in local and regional development, post-Socialist transition and Europeanisation are combined to derive a ‘heterodox’ approach to understanding local and regional development and government in Romania by placing particular emphasis on noneconomic factors. The case-study of Neamt County in the North East Region is used to illustrate the empirical evidences of local and regional development policies for the post-Socialist period in Romania. Through a close examination of the context, the procedures and the actors of these policies, this thesis argues that despite the occurrence of systemic change in Romania, local and regional policies present ‘layering’ effects, a ‘change in continuity’ that emphasises more the continuity instead of the changes. The ‘heterodox’ analysis proposed in this thesis challenges the theoretical hegemony and uniform applicability of the New Regionalism that is suggested by the European Union (EU) and adopted by the Romanian Government. The consideration of historical and cultural legacies, alongside the economic environment, challenges both the explanatory power and policy paradigm proposed by the New Regionalism for the Romanian experience. Furthermore, it raises questions regarding the effectiveness and efficiency of the EU’s local and regional policies and underlines the necessity to reconsider and reform several aspects of these polices- in the direction of a rather different orientation that responds better to specific local and regional needs and aspirations.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

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