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MOVING CENTRAL KNOWLEDGE TO A NORTHERN PERIPHERY: EXPLORING LOGICS OF PUBLIC SECTOR JOB RELOCATION IN SWEDEN

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ABSTRACT.

Through the means of Swedish relocation politics, the capital of Stockholm has been constructed as a governing centre with the ability of giving something to a periphery thought of as unable to survive on its own. The relationship between centre and periphery, furthermore, produces images of what kind of knowledge can be located to “central” or “peripheral” regions. In this article I research the move of a knowledge‐intense government agency from Stockholm to Östersund, a smaller inland town in the north. The data were collected through an ethnographic case study of a government agency. I adopt a discourse theoretical approach that provides a clear ontology of identity and processes of identification. This enables research on how ideological images of places create geographical identity positions. The aim of this article is to explore how groups of professionals at the government agency identified with geographical identities dependent on whether they were seen as experts or generalists. In conclusion, identity positions became important for how the relocation was organized. The establishment of the two identity positions functioned to stabilize the social environment during the move, a time when many things at work seemed to be in turmoil. At the same time the positions worked to exclude other ways of identifying with (work)place, and in this way sustained asymmetrical relations of domination and subordination between centre and periphery.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department for Culture and Media Studies, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden,

Publication date: 01 December 2012

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