Framing the governance of core-periphery relations in Germany and Romania

Subproject within the framework of the Initial Training Network RegPol²

What is regional development and how should it be done? At some point, this meaning-making question is likely to be faced by policy makers, politicians, economic agents, various interest groups, and publics with a stake in the matter. The answer to this, while shaping a line of argument, a guide of intervention, or an identity, also creates a field of contestation, both in theoretical debates and policy practices. With this project, I seek to provide an account of the travel, shaping, and implementing of normative ideas (which stem either from theoretical reasoning, or from policy learning, or emerge from daily practices) into regional development policy responses to current socio-spatial processes of polarisation and peripheralisation.

This research starts at a point in time when the dominant political and economic paradigm is that core cities and micro-regions (e.g. metropolitan areas) may reasonably develop at the expense of structurally weaker places, with the latter being expected to benefit from the spill over effects created by the former.

Policy-wise, this approach is advocated on embedding competition-generated growth into a preferably medium to long term spatial development strategy. However, the suitability of such responses to issues of polarisation and peripheralisation can be brought into question.

When looking at Central and Eastern Europe in particular, it becomes apparent that not all national contexts have the tradition, or indeed the capacity to create and delivering long-term visions. Hence, this very demand for strategy making for matters which exhibit themselves as wicked problems (such as 'development', or 'periphery' for instance) is very likely to pose a whole raft of dilemmas concerning the appropriateness of any intended course of intervention, or indeed inaction.

The project explores this (intra-)regional dimension of development through the implementation of Europe's Cohesion Policy in Germany and Romania. The main object of comparison is the regional policy making and implementation process, with institutional arms reaching towards the local scale. By drawing on framing analysis (van Hulst and Yanow, 2014), the aim is to explore the dialogical process of making sense of the substantive and procedural issues at hand, understand the work of selecting, naming, and categorising policy features, and account for the construction and use of policy narratives in attributing what is wrong and what needs fixing.

van Hulst, M., Yanow, D. (2014). From Policy “Frames” to “Framing” Theorizing a More Dynamic, Political Approach. The American Review of Public Administration, 0275074014533142.


Not yet available

Project information

Project team

Alexandru Brad


Regional Development Agency, North West Region, Romania; Babes-Bolyai University Cluj, Romania

Duration of project

02/2014 – 12/2017

Funded by

European Union (Marie Curie Actions)

Further information

Alexandru Brad


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