The Economic Geography of Regional Differentiation - Studies in Sogn og Fjordane, Norway
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The central concern of this thesis is with the degree of freedom of action which peripheral areas retain in directing their own development. The evolution of regional policy in Norway is described in detail, with close attention being paid to the continued existence of residual marginal areas. These areas are mostly comprised of rural communities, and these residual areas are very well represented within the West Norwegian county of Sogn og Fjordane. Theoretical perspectives are drawn from regional economics, and the relationship between centre and periphery. A relational definition of centre and periphery is proposed: that the periphery is a region differentiated from another region, the centre, because it is disadvantaged in an asymeetrical interaction relationship. Examples are taken from the economic geography of Sogn og Fjordane which illustrate this proposal. The scale of the processes which are described is given by an analysis of Population and Agricultural census information for Indre Sogn, an area of the county. The discussion of the relationship between centre and periphery is closely focussed on the development of one village, Fjaerland, which is shown to have been blocked by the external orientation of its economic units.