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The social relations of business representation and devolved governance in the United Kingdom

Raco, M. (2003) The social relations of business representation and devolved governance in the United Kingdom. Environment and Planning A, 35 (10). pp. 1853-1876.

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1068/a35226


The reform of regional governance in the United Kingdom has been, in part, premised on the notion that regions provide new territories of action in which cooperative networks between business communities and state-agencies can be established. Promoting business interests is seen as one mechanism for enhancing the economic competitiveness and performance of 'laggard' regions. Yet, within this context of change, business agendas and capacities are often assumed to exist 'out there, as a resource waiting to be tapped by state institutions. There is little recognition that business organisations' involvement in networks of governance owes much to historical patterns and practices of business representation, to the types of activities that exist within the business sector, and to interpretations of their own role and position within wider policymaking and implementation networks. This paper, drawing on a study of business agendas in post-devolution Scotland, demonstrates that in practice business agendas are highly complex. Their formation in any particular place depends on the actions of reflexive agents, whose perspectives and capacities are shaped by the social, economic, and political contexts within which they are operating. As such, any understanding of business agendas needs to identify the social relations of business as a whole, rather than assuming away such complexities.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:4038
Additional Information: Conference Information: 98th Annual Meeting of the Association-of-American-Geographers LOS ANGELES, CA, MAR 19-23, 2002

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