Regional Development and Regional Policy

Both research and teaching of regional politics, policy and development at the University of Oulu focus primarily on regional transformation. The processes of regional transformation inescapably touch upon societal processes which are, in turn, closely associated with political economy, state culture, political decision making and governmental rationalities. No wonder then that one can approach the politics, economy or culture of regional transformation from many angles and by utilizing diverse methods and research materials. Even if regional transformation is inescapably an interdisciplinary field, not a “property” of any institutionalized discipline, human geography offers a set of concepts and related theoretical ideas that are particularly valuable in the study of the changing regional politics/policy and development.

The staff of the regional politics/policy and development currently focuses on the following research themes:

  1. Operation of EU’s spatial policies, especially in the northernmost regions of the Union.
  2. Spatial dynamics of the knowledge based society
  3. Transformation of regional policies and associated governmental rationalities in Finland
  4. Transformation of regional political ideas and concepts

In addition, political geography of the Arctic should be mentioned as an emerging field of research and teaching.

All political decision making has spatial or regional dimension. This is one of the reasons why, in historical perspective, the study of regional politics, policy and development has had intimate connections with political power. The study of regional politics, policy and development is nonetheless also a scholarly field which not only has a long history but which is also characterized by rich conceptual and empirical work that is published in numerous academic journals and presented in academic conferences. We feel that the interaction between policy circles and the academic scholars of the study of regional politics, policy and development must be based on careful theoretical and empirical scholarly work. The primary goal of the study of regional politics, policy and development at the University of Oulu is therefore to produce both theoretical and empirical knowledge on regional transformation and publish these insights in high quality international journals. This high quality work potentially has “policy relevance” which, in one way or another, can be utilized by the policy sector in the ongoing attempts to manage and govern regions and places in a complex world.


Eeva-Kaisa Prokkola (postdoctoral researcher) is a political geographer with special emphasis on political borders, border areas, European Union and Schengen. She has previously published papers on issues of borders, cross-border regionalization and European Union’s policy in journals such as Geopolitics, Space & Polity (co-authored with Anssi Paasi) and Current Issues in Tourism. She is currently working in a three year-long research project ‘Border management, biopolitics, and narratives of border crossing’ (2011-2013) at the Academy of Finland (project no.137847).


Examples of publications

  • Dittmer, J., Moisio, S., Ingram, A. & Dodds, K. (accepted). Have you heard the one about the disappearing ice: Recasting Arctic geopolitics. Political Geography.
  • Jauhiainen, J. S., S. Harvio, J. Luukkonen & H. Moilanen (2007). Regional development zones: tools for competitive territorial cohesion in Finland? Fennia. International Journal of Geography 185(1)
  • Luukkonen, J. (2010). Territorial cohesion policy in the light of peripherality. Town Planning Review 81(4).
  • Moisio, Sami (2011). Beyond the domestic-international divide: State spatial transformation as neoliberal geopolitics. In, Aalto, P., Harle, V. & Moisio, S. (eds.), International Studies: Interdisciplinary perspectives. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.
  • Moisio, S. & Harle, V. (2010).  On the interface: The Finnish geopolitical tradition in human geography and in IR. Cooperation and Conflict 45(4).
  • Moisio, Sami (2010). Geographies of Europeanization: The EU’s spatial planning as a politics of scale. In, Bialasiewicz, Luiza (ed.), Europe in the World: EU geopolitics and the transformation of European space. Ashgate, Aldershot.
  • Muilu, Toivo (2010). Needs for rural research in the northern Finland context. Journal of Rural Studies 26(1), 73-80.
  • Prokkola, Eeva-Kaisa (2011). Regionalization, Tourism Development and Partnership in the European Union's North Calotte Sub-programme of INTERREG III North. Tourism Geographies 13 (4) (forthcoming)
  • Prokkola, Eeva-Kaisa (accepted). Cross-border regionalization, INTERREG III A initiative and local cooperation in the Finnish-Swedish border area. Environment and Planning A.
  • Snäkin, Juha-Pekka & Muilu, Toivo & Pesola, Tuomo (2010). Bioenergy decision making of farms in Northern Finland: combining bottom-up and top-down perspectives. Energy Policy 38(10), 6161-6171.


Last updated: 2.1.2017