Natural regional resilience : determining the sustainable value of a local wool industry through actor-network theory
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- Institutt for geografi 
Sustainable development has become accepted by many as the only sensible option for future development at global, national, county and municipal levels. On a national level, Norwegian authorities have made strategic policies aiming to reach the goal of a low-emission society by 2050. Green innovation, efficient use of natural resources as well as a stronger focus on local processing and production, are all regarded as offering sustainable options for future local and regional development. This thesis studies a small-scale local wool industry in Trøndelag (a spinning mill and associated actors) which focuses on utilising wool from the older, rare breeds of native Norwegian sheep. Wool from these breeds is often pigmented and regarded by many as under-valued in relation to the potential value it has as a natural resource from the bio- or eco-economy. At the same time as having this potential, it is also the bi-product of meat production from animals that release emissions. This aspect makes calculating the sustainable values of the local wool industry more complex. Actor-Network Theory is used as a theoretical framework and methodology, offering a holistic approach to researching the complex relational activity between animate and inanimate elements of the wool industry. Assembling the actor-network of the local wool industry, which the researcher is also a part of, made it possible to see all the connections between the actors and understand the collaboration and relationships stretching across space and time. Although the different elements and relationships showed that aspects of ecological, social and economic sustainability are interwoven, this study argues that the local wool industry in Trøndelag has a deeper focus on ecological sustainability. This suggests that it operates outside a capitalistic system, which is driven primarily by economic interests. The study further suggests that the industry is perhaps not so much working towards sustainable regional ‘development’ as sustainable regional ‘resilience’. Collaboration is central to the industry’s sustainability through helping to build up environmental, social and technological resources for providing local clothing and food. From an ecological perspective and in the light of an uncertain or unpredictable future connected to today’s environmental crises, this perhaps offers greater regional and local value.