Nicol, Chris

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    Bifurcation of a rural-urban regional partnership: a study of hidden dynamics
    (Rural Development Institute, Brandon University, 2015) Nicol, Lorraine A.; Nicol, Christopher J.
    Region-based solutions present a promising avenue to addressing contemporary challenges facing municipalities. But regional formations require the messy reworking of networks of power among multiple stakeholders, often leading to power struggles. Challenges can be compounded when a rural-urban dimension is added to such an undertaking. This study examined the hidden power dynamics of a case involving 18 rural and urban municipalities in the Calgary region of Alberta called the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP). In 2005 these municipalities voluntarily embarked on a major city-region initiative involving land-use planning and water sharing. However, by 2009 four rural municipalities had left the CRP, bifurcating the partnership along rural and urban lines. The dynamics of this case were traced through time and viewed through the lens of Foucault’s concepts of discourse and mechanisms of exclusion as well as Hajer’s concepts of metaphors, story-lines and discourse coalitions. The study demonstrates how mechanisms of exclusion led to the creation of dominant discourses, the formation of coalitions around counter-discourses, and the eventual disintegration of the rural-urban dimension of the partnership.