2001 volume 33(10) pages 1807 – 1827
doi:10.1068/a3469

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Mansfield B, 2001, "Thinking through scale: the role of state governance in globalizing North Pacific fisheries" Environment and Planning A 33(10) 1807 – 1827

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Thinking through scale: the role of state governance in globalizing North Pacific fisheries

Becky Mansfield

Received 17 March 2001; in revised form 21 July 2001

Abstract. Debates about the relationship between globalization and state power have often relied on a static view of spatial scales as discrete stages for social interaction. Focusing instead on the 'production of scale', several researchers have argued that globalization leads to rescaling of the state, as regulatory powers are realigned both upwards to supranational regimes and downwards to regional, local, and urban governance structures. Although this perspective quite usefully treats scale as relational, this 'glocalization' argument remains somewhat schematic and does not allow for a full range of possible scalar configurations. Highlighting instead heterogeneity of scalar relations, in this paper I analyze the ways that United States' fishery development in the North Pacific produced both national power and transnational economic activity. After extending political jurisdiction over waters up to 200 nautical miles from shore, the United States implemented fishery development policies that emphasized the 'Americanization' of the Alaska pollock fishery at the expense of an international, particularly Japanese, fishery. The outcomes of these policies, however, have been international partnerships, foreign direct investment, and increased international trade, all of which have made the pollock industry simultaneously national and transnational. Efforts to assert and implement control over ocean territory produced both the national state and globalization, which were mutually reinforcing rather than antagonistic. Treating national states and the global economy as complex, contingent scalar configurations facilitates analysis of the causes of variability in state - economy relations.

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