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Identifying the "Usual Suspects" – Assessing patterns of representation in ICLEI case study collections
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9509-8271
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Case study narratives act as a functional and attractive tool for awareness-raising, exchange of ideas and capacity-building. However, recent literature has highlighted problems with the ways that case studies present concepts or information. Writers such as Bahia Schlee et al, 2012; Isendahl and Smith, 2012; Raco and Lin, 2012; and Smit and Parnell, 2012; note an imbalance in the presentation of “developed” and “developing” world narratives in academic literature, leading to over-representation of cases from Europe and North America. Recent work by Acuto (2013) and Fenton (forthcoming) suggests that the increasing volume of case studies in academic literature on urban sustainability may contribute to an over-representation of certain kinds of municipalities – e.g. cities of a certain size or in certain locations – at the expense of others.


This paper will show that this trend is observed not only in academic literature, but also in practical settings, e.g. the preponderance and domination of certain cities within international municipal associations. The paper studies the continents, countries, municipalities and themes represented in six collections of case studies published by an international municipal association. The paper will assess the possible ways in which the case study collections, by representing certain types of activities in particular locations, influence the framing of the practice and study of sustainable development in municipalities. By doing so, the paper aims to contribute to literature on comparative urbanism, urban governance, knowledge production, municipalities, sustainable development, and international organisations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping, 2014. 27- p.
Keyword [en]
ICLEI, transnational municipal networks, sustainable development, municipalities
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-105780OAI: diva2:710165
Stadtkolloquium Annual Workshop, University College London

Presented with support from EU Erasmus Staff Training travel grant.

Available from: 2014-04-04 Created: 2014-04-04 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved

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