At the intersection between local and global : understanding Oslo's international engagement
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Cities are increasingly asserting themselves at the intersection between the local and global. Over the past decades, one has seen cities progressively seeking to partake in global governance processes, and their capacity for impact is perhaps best illustrated through joint efforts by city networks. One has further seen cities beginning to engage in foreign policy topics traditionally understood to belong within the state’s sphere of authority. While cities are undoubtably claiming political space in international processes, this space remains largely undefined. The scholarly recognition of the city as an international, political actor has been slow within the field of IR. While the interest in the topic has picked up in recent years, the growing body of literature is skewed towards so-called ‘global cities’. Focusing this thesis on the international agency of the City of Oslo provides a small contribution to the diversification of the field. In doing that, this thesis seeks to answer the following research question: Why does Oslo engage internationally, and how can Oslo’s international agency be understood in relation to the Norwegian state? This question was sought answered by analysing 10 key informant interviews and 10 of Oslo’s official documents. The findings indicated a range of rationales guiding Oslo’s decisions to engage internationally, wherein both pragmatic and idealistic motivations were identified. Oslo’s international engagement consists of several different thematic areas, wherein the nature of the topic appeared to determine the state’s perception of the city’s international activities.