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Základné informácie o záverečnej práci
|Fuzzy and soft elements in spatial dimension of regional policy|
|Pracovisko:||Ústav manažmentu STU (OUP REK)|
|prof. Ing. arch. Maroš Finka, PhD.|
|Oponent 2:||Dr. Thilo Lang|
Stav záverečnej práce:
Záverečná práca bola úspešne obhájená
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Jazyk spracovania záverečnej práce:
Fuzzy and soft elements in spatial dimension of regional policy
|Socio-economic opportunities as well as socio-economic challenges do not stop at political or sectoral borders. Yet, the concept and the reality of the modern nation state predispose us to think about societal issues and responses in categories of territorially discrete and politically sovereign units. This methodological territorialism has important implications for how academics, politicians, and voters conceive the reality of uneven development. This dissertation builds on governance theories to argue against a territorially rooted understanding of uneven development. The process of European integration challenges the territorial container view of uneven development by opening - and by leaving unsettled - the question about the ultimate boundaries of the European political system. Indeed, a territorial understanding of uneven development is of reduced relevance in a multi-level political system with fuzzy boundaries. Levels of socio-economic development are simultaneously converging at the national level, while disparities between metropolitan and rural areas are widening in many parts of Europe. Territorially discrete and politically sovereign nation states have fostered enough political legitimacy to implement large-scale wealth-transfers within the national territory and between social strata. However, the European Union neither has the political mandate, nor the financial resources, not the fixed territorial boundaries to transpose this approach to the supranational level. The painstaking conditionalities attached to intra-EU wealth transfers – such as EU cohesion policy or the bail-out programs after the sovereign debt crisis – only confirm this point. But what can be done? Rodrik’s Trilemma offers a theoretical point of entry to this conundrum. The trilemma holds that it is not possible to simultaneously pursue economic integration, preserve national sovereignty, and democratic mass politics. The dissertation argues that the emergence of new problem-based and reflexive modes of European governance are an attempt to solve (or displace) Rodrik’s trilemma. The underlying idea is that political decision-making procedures need to take into account that economic integration produces and intensifies transnational opportunities and challenges. In this view, efficient and legitimate governance requires the ability to identify and act upon shared utility functions. However, the logic of territorialism pits distinct political units against each other in the pursuit of their individual utility functions. In other words, new modes of governance seek to replace an international bargaining logic with a place-based problem-solving logic. As a result, these decision-making procedures defy the very notion of discrete territorial units, hierarchical political scales, and sectoral divisions. The spatiality of problem-centered decision-making is not one of territorial sovereignty but one of soft spaces with fuzzy boundaries. The dissertation compares two trilateral central European cross-border euroregions to better understand the extent to which problem-centered soft spaces can contribute to balanced development in the EU. The Euroregion Šumava is situated at the Austrian-Bavarian-Czech border. The Euroregion Pomoraví is situated at the Austrian-Slovak-Czech border. As such, both cross-border regions were divided by the Iron Curtain until 1989. The dissertation focuses on the contribution of the two euroregions to strategic thinking and EU cohesion policy delivery in the border area. In terms of findings, the most significant factors for the emergence and persistence of a cross-border soft space is the availability of EU funding and the relationship to the domestic politico-administrative hard spaces. On the one hand, it can be argued that the allocation of EU funds is justified because of the distinct disadvantages of border regions. On the other hand, the allocation of the funds to the member states creates an incentive structure that favors the emergence of bargaining behavior. Indeed, the minimal institutional integration of both euroregions can be seen as an indication that servicing domestic constituencies is the primary rationale for cooperation. Nevertheless, in the case of the Euroregion Šumava tendencies towards problem-centered cooperation are observable. In particular the Bavarian euroregion section succeeded in building operational capacity, establishing close links to the domestic politico-administrative system, and broadening its service portfolio. By comparison, the Euroregion Pomoraví has dissolved after an internal crisis of trust. The result is that the INTERREG programs have become more centralized and a logic of bargaining between the member states undermines the “additionality” of EU funds.|
Soft Space, Governance, Uneven Development, Cross-Border Cooperation, EU cohesion policy
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