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Resource economies and neoliberal experimentation: the reform of industry and community in rural British Columbia

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Abstract:

This paper argues that the current literature on neoliberalism in advanced capitalist societies has concentrated primarily on urban issues, and has thus failed to see resource economies and regions as theoretically significant sites of neoliberal reform. Using research from British Columbia, Canada, we argue that resource regions are often targets of intense neoliberal experimentation. The neoliberal project in British Columbia involves an extreme shift in state policy from a strong Fordist-Keynesian programme to recent efforts to ‘liberate’ corporate actors from non-market social and spatial obligations (to environment, labour and community). We argue that such policy shifts have exceptional consequences in resource regions due to strong and direct state influence in corporate-resource and community-level economies. We draw several theoretical lessons from this research for the mainstream literature on neoliberal reform.

Keywords: British Columbia; community development; development policy; neoliberalism; neoliberalization; resource policy

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4762.2007.00739.x

Affiliations: 1: University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 6N5, Email: nyoung@uottawa.ca 2: Department of Sociology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z1

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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