Hardanger som identitetsregion
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This master’s thesis examines the Hardanger region as an identity region. The main research questions in this thesis is in the first place what characterizes Hardanger as a region, and secondly, how regional actors see Hardanger as an identity region. In the recent reform of the national municipality system, there was an attempt to reinvent Hardanger as an administrative region. I examine the main reasons why this failed with data from interviews with the regional actors involved. Economic uncertainty, lack of a common functional region and a general hostility towards the threat of centralization forces are the main explanations. Furthermore, regional actors have deliberately constructed the regional identity of Hardanger to create an identity region, by using regional symbols. These symbols are well rooted in the iconic picture of Hardanger as national landscape. Thus, Hardanger can be characterized as a consolidated and successful identity region. Yet, it lacks full acceptance as a meaningful entity to all of its inhabitants, because the industrial heritage and economic importance of the industrial towns is not included in the regional set of symbols.