Local-to-Local Partnerships among Swedish Municipalities: Why and How Neighbours Join to Alleviate Resource Constraints
Networks are important institutional features in local community affairs. They function as information centres and bargaining structures in politics. Through networks, local political actors can furthermore build a reputation which becomes an asset — sometimes even a form of veto power — in the decision-making process (Knoke 1990: 133, 138-9). Elected municipal leaders hold central positions vis-à-vis important local groups and organizations, and are at the hub of important inter-organizational relationships in the community. From this central institutional position, they engage in strategic activities to establish contacts with, and to create networks among, the important holders and/or claimants to resources deemed necessary to fulfil political objectives. Politicians must particularly strive to establish such relations with individual and collective resource holders over whom they have limited political leverage. Networking can thus be seen as a strategy of using contacts to gain influence over structural factors in the local government’s environment, first and foremost in order to alleviate the eternal problem of scarcity and resource dependence (Pierre 1994: 163f). Looking at networking as a strategic activity implies that there is a dubious relationship between networks, networking, and cooperation.
KeywordsLocal Government Common Pool Resource Resource Sustainability Mutual Agreement Resource Mobilization
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