The long-term adaptation of a resource periphery as narrated by local policy-makers in Lieksa
The paper’s general objective is to question the point of view whereby peripheries are seen only through a static downturn with no reflections on dynamicity or adaptation. The focus is set on the standpoints of actors in local government and their interface with the broader structures. The aim is to create a productive dialogue with evolutionary economic geography studies paying attention to actors and resilience studies where the human perspectives in adaptation are emphasised. The town of Lieksa, Finland, is used as a case study to exemplify a forest resource periphery located in relative isolation at the regional and national scale, but within a developed economy in Europe. The results, based on interviews with key local policy-makers, show that development did not stop at the time of the first bust despite the domination of the downturn. The study reveals two waves of restructuring which both include a type of regional bust followed by different kinds of institutional recovery. In general, the human adaptation appears as reactions reflecting the variation of giving up, forward-looking acceptance, desperate resistance, re-orientation with external support and search for renewal with an optimistic attitude. Above all, the resilience regarding the local governmental actors emphasises their flexible adaptability and ability to develop institutional capacities to tolerate their vulnerability, the uncertainties of the economic future and the difficulties of locals to influence it – and if anything – to act and bounce forward in spite of repetitive busts and restructuring phases.
Copyright (c) 2019 Maija Elina Halonen
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