Chapter 2 extended the concept of political entrepreneurship by adding the sociological literature of actor–network theory to enhance the actor-oriented analysis of political entrepreneurship. This contributes to the understanding of how political entrepreneurs can be included in the analysis of policy networks and how an analysis of political entrepreneurs needs to include a network analysis. Actor–network theory extends the meanings of actors, stating that they can only be understood in relation to the network. In a similar way, the network is nothing without its actors. Furthermore, by adding an analysis of power, actor–network theory helps to highlight how actors have the power to influence the consequences of the policy processes.
Per Assmo and Elin Wihlborg
Political entrepreneurs in local rural settings play a partly different, but still crucial role for local development. Here the prospects for development are more constrained: there are fewer resources and people, but mainly because of a limited local market and transportation constraints. Thus, political entrepreneurs have to use specific time-spatial power strategies to make changes. However, the concept of political entrepreneur includes a variety of roles, actions and characteristics. We will thus elaborate on the meaning of political entrepreneurs in their local time-spatial setting of rural communities. If local political entrepreneurs are to become crucial actors in policy-making and local development, we have to get to know them and no longer consider them as anomalies in the policy process and use them for improved local development. This chapter contributes in three ways to the general aim of the book to show the role that the political entrepreneur might play in promoting entrepreneurship, enterprise and entrepreneurial diversity. First, we will show the importance of the time-spatial setting of the political entrepreneur by using a time-geographical approach. Second, we elaborate on different types of political entrepreneurs. Finally, we will show how differently political entrepreneurs can promote local development by presenting three illustrations based on extensive bottom-up qualitative field studies.
Albin Olausson and Elin Wihlborg
This chapter focuses on the legitimacy of political entrepreneurs in Swedish local development projects. The main focus is to explore how civil servants in Swedish municipalities act as political entrepreneurs and whether they succeed or fail in gaining legitimacy in the municipal setting. The authors argue that successful political entrepreneurship is based on legitimacy and that networks are crucial for gaining legitimacy. Political entrepreneurs may receive legitimacy from stakeholders within networks through collaboration and trust. However, they also argue that such informal legitimacy must be complemented by formal legitimacy as inputs to projects. As a result, local political entrepreneurs are not always successful in their endeavours and are not always perceived as legitimate, which becomes a hindrance for implementing local and regional policies for growth and sustainable development.