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Social capital, institutional networks and European regional policy: Adaptation and adjustment in the Aegean Islands.

Paraskevopoulos, Christos John (1998) Social capital, institutional networks and European regional policy: Adaptation and adjustment in the Aegean Islands. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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This thesis focuses on the role of social capital and institutional networks in determining the capacity for learning and adaptation of the regional systems of governance within the European regional policy environment, by facilitating collective action among the actors and by shaping the local institutional interactions through the processes of exchange and socialization. The main hypothesis is that, although the Europeanization of public policy has a positive impact on the processes of institution-building, learning and adaptation at the local level, and particularly in the less-favoured regions of Europe, pre-existing qualitative features of the local institutional infrastructure play the most important role in the bottom-up learning and adaptation processes. In particular, the presence of dense institutional networks between public and private actors and social capital endowments that enable them to be involved in the provision of public goods and services facilitates the learning process, that is the capacity of institutional networks to adapt their structure and policies to meet the changing politico-economic conditions (European environment). The research compares the response of two regions of Greece (Southern and Northern Aegean Islands) -similar in physical resources and financial support provided by the national and European regional policy-to the challenges of Europeanization. Chapter one establishes the general theoretical framework of the thesis, linking social capital, institutional networks and learning within the theory of regional development. Chapter two defines learning and adaptation in European regional policy and establishes the main theoretical hypotheses of the thesis, the methodology for measuring specific structural features of the networks and social capital, and criteria for assessing the learning capacity. Chapter three presents the structural and cultural specificities of the Greek socio-political system, as well as the main aspects of the national regional policy. Chapters four and five map the institutional infrastructure in both regions, drawing their political, economic, institutional and cultural features. Chapters six and seven examine the processes of institutional and policy adaptation to European structural policy in both regions and evaluate their learning capacity. Finally, chapter eight compares the two cases and draws general conclusions regarding the role of social capital and institutional networks in facilitating learning and adaptation within European regional policy and extracts main implications for integration theory.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, General
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Government

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