Regionaliseringen av Sverige : En avpolitiserad debatt?
Sammanfattning: Regionalization has become a catchphrase in European countries during the last twenty years with the establishment of the European Union. An ideational development has occurred during time towards emphasing more politicially powerful regions with the idea of new regionalism. Sweden represents a deviant case study, where regions historically have been politically weak and where Sweden has been characterized as a strong unitary state. The aim of this paper is to analyze the political debate in the Swedish parliament concerning the implementation of a stronger regional level (storregioner) during 2007-2010 and to determine if the debate can be characterized as a case of depoliticalization. The theory of depoliticalization have been introduced by Richard Katz and Peter Mair to explain why political parties through external pressure from europeanisation and globalization tend to become more consensual with similar political agendas, leading to a diminished the lef-right scale. This external pressure is argued to also constrain the ability to shape policies on a national level. Political parties are argued in this context to seek to delegate political issues and areas to other political arenas. Three clearly specified questions have been used to qualitatively analyze how the political parties argue concerning the issue of regionalization. The theoretical framework in this paper is based on two conflicting core ideas of regional politics, depoliticalization based on new regionalism and politicalization based on old regionalism to analyze the political debate. Depoliticalization emphasizes technocratic ideas and a minimized state, and where politicalization emphasizes the idea of a strong and active state in regional politics. The findings in this study suggest that the political debate concerning regionalization can not be seen as a case of depoliticalization, where the rhetoric of the parties differs in two of the three questions. But the political parties share to a high degree a similar argumentation why a regional reform is necessary through technocratic arguments and by pointing to a weakening state pressured by europeanization in need of reform.
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