‘Engineering’ the green transformation of the maritime industry in Western Norway
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This dissertation is empirically motivated by understanding the observed and ongoing green transformation of the maritime industry in Western Norway, a development that has had implications for both environmental protection, regional economic growth and job creation. Theoretically, the dissertation argues that the observed regional transformation processes should be analysed through an integration of three theoretical frameworks; ‘Evolutionary Economic Geography’ (EEG), ‘Transition Studies’ (TS) and ‘Institutional Entrepreneurship Work’ (IEW). As such, the dissertation argues that transformation is a complex phenomenon that requires co-evolution between several actors, technologies, policies and institutions, but also that these processes need to be embedded in evolving territorial contexts. Finally, these processes must be driven by purposeful actors aiming to change institutions to be more favourable for a green transformation. The dissertation approaches an integration between EEG, TS and IEW through engaging with three debates or ‘areas of engagement’ within these literatures. These include debates around how actors and agency affect institutional change processes, the role of territorial and multi-scalar dynamics, and the role of simultaneous and dynamically interacting dimensions of materiality, organization and discourse. Through these debates, the dissertation specifically argues for a new analytical framework which emphasises multi-actor institutional change (drawing on IEW), territoriality and multi-scalarity (drawing on EEG), and multi-dimensionality (drawing on TS), as well as the interplay between these elements. The theoretical discussion is illustrated, empirically, by an extensive case study of the green transformation of the Western Norwegian maritime industry. The dissertation is based on four qualitatively oriented papers, each of which contributes to the overall problem framings that it has sought to tackle. These papers focus on the following issues; Paper #1) how engineers perform multi-scalar institution changing practices in addition to technologist practices during processes of transformation; Paper #2) how the material, organizational and discursive dimension around a specific multi-scalar demonstration project (the actor-networks around and the materiality of a ‘performing project enacting agency’) have led to change in public ferry procurement on regional and national level; Paper #3) how achieving ‘directionality’ in cluster policy must recognise that regional clusters are embedded in different ‘trinity’ (materiality-organisation-discourse), sector and territorial/multi-scalar dynamics; and Paper #4) how green (regional) path creation processes should—drawing on EEG and ‘Technological Innovation Systems’ (TIS) literature—incorporate ‘regional capabilities, multi-level dynamics, actors and agency, policy, guidance of the search, legitimation and market formation’, as well as a future focus on ‘narratives’. The dissertation finds that several regionally embedded actors (industry actors, cluster staff, NGO representatives, public sector representatives and politicians) have engaged in institutional agency processes at and across spatial scales (together with actors on the national level). It also finds that territorial capabilities within the maritime industry in Western Norway (knowledge on power-electronics, energy-efficient engines and propeller systems, and the presence of risk taking companies), have enabled and embedded technological and commercial opportunities created by the global car industry, which has been vital for the observed green transformation. This has also been strengthened by a regional industrial cluster, which has been vital in maritime cleantech networking (between e.g. industrial actors and R&D) and in lobbying towards regional and national authorities. Finally, it finds that the green industrial transformation in the region is the result of a dynamic interplay between materiality (technological demonstration), organisation (lobbying and clustering) and discourse (framing of narratives). The dissertation adds to theory, particularly within EEG and TS, along the lines of the tree areas of engagement, but also in how these areas interact (e.g. how the material dimension can contain institutional agency). As such, I argue that the empirical findings have theoretical implications for transformation processes elsewhere.
Paper 1: Sjøtun, S.G. The Role of Engineers in the Greening of the South-Western Norwegian Maritime Industry: Practices, Agency and Social Fields. The article is not available in BORA.Paper 2: Sjøtun, S.G. (2019) A ferry making waves: A demonstration project ‘doing’ institutional work in a greening maritime industry, Norsk geografisk tidsskrift – Norwegian Journal of Geography 73(1): 16-28. The article is not available in BORA due to publisher restrictions. The published version is available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/00291951.2018.1526208Paper 3: Sjøtun, S.G. and Njøs, R. (2019) Green reorientation of clusters and the role of policy: ‘the normative’ and ‘the neutral’ route, European Planning Studies 27(12): 2411-2430. The article is not available in BORA due to publisher restrictions. The published version is available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/09654313.2019.1630370Paper 4: Njøs, R., Sjøtun, S.G., Jakobsen, S-E. and Fløysand, A. Green path creation in regions: Towards an analytical framework. The article is not available in BORA.
PublisherThe University of Bergen
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