Regional resilience and collective action: the response of local state actors to the needs of rural enterprise in crisis

Peck, Frank and Mulvey, Gail (2010) Regional resilience and collective action: the response of local state actors to the needs of rural enterprise in crisis. In: Regional Studies Association Annual International Conference 2010: Regional Responses and Global Shifts: Actors, Institutions and Organisations, 24-26 May 2010, Pécs, Hungary. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

While the usefulness of the term “regional resilience” is currently being debated widely in academia Hill, Wial and Wolman, 2008; Swanstrom, 2008; Chapple and Lester 2007, Simmie and Martin, 2010), the term is already very firmly embedded in the local public policy arena. The encroachment of this term into policy territory once occupied by “emergency planning” is quite striking. In this article, we explore the significance of this shift in emphasis which, we would argue, symbolises a different approach to governance associated with responses to disasters at a local level. Whereas emergency planning is commonly interpreted as a justification for centralised control of decision-making and an upward shift in governance, the concept of resilience focuses attention on the capacity of localities and regions to mitigate and when required to respond to crises as they arise with limited external assistance. A key element in our argument concerns the evolution of partnership as the preferred method for government in delivering a wide range of policies in local areas. Partnership working is often a highly complex process with uncertain outcomes that can take long periods of time to negotiate. It is not unreasonable, therefore, for some commentators to suggest that “normal” processes of local development are incompatible with situations where there is a need for rapid executive action to address emergency needs in a disaster. We develop the argument that increased reference to resilience in local public policy can be interpreted as part of an attempt by central powers to devolve greater responsibility for responding to disasters to local partnerships. We explore these ideas in the context of Cumbria, a rural region of the UK that has experienced a succession of such disasters between 2001 and 2010. The analysis examines the responses of local actors to these periodic crises and the extent to which lessons have been learnt and applied from past experience.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments: Centre for Regional Economic Development
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2017 14:40
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2017 08:41
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/2719

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