The post-war period has been characterized by a strong growth of economic interdependencies at a global level. Regional economies and their industrial clusters were challenged to maintain or regain their competitiveness in the new global economy. Some regions – particularly core areas – have undergone successful innovation-based transformation, while many old industrialized and peripheral regions have lost competitiveness, employment and parts of their economic base. In this contribution we deal with conceptual approaches to globalization challenges of regions and clusters, focusing on types of regions, clusters and modes of innovation. We also provide examples of clusters located in different geographical contexts and investigate how they cope with innovation challenges and place-specific innovation barriers.
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Franz Tödtling, Arne Isaksen and Michaela Trippl
Macro region building has found its greatest expression in the supranational project that has occurred in Europe since the end of the Second World War. This project has evolved from one aimed at promoting economic cooperation, free trade and employment growth among Western European states in the 1950s, to a complicated form of political, economic and monetary union in the 2000s that also incorporates former communist states in Central and Eastern Europe. The European project has simultaneously been a response to, and shaper of globalization. Macro region building in Europe has had a varied and chequered history. In its formative years emphasis was on the peace potential deriving from trade and economic cooperation, with the six signatory countries dismantling a range of barriers to trade in particular sectors. Enlargement of the project from the 1970s began to expose clear differences of political emphasis and support for further integration among its members. The 1980s witnessed a response by the European Communities to global economic challenges, particularly the growth of Southeast Asian economies. This resulted in a drive by some states for closer politico-economic integration in Europe buttressed by monetary policies and strengthened European institutions. During this period the European Union sought to protect its economy from outside competition whilst attempting to exert a global role and presence. The global financial crisis of 2008 unleashed destructive pressures on macro region building in Europe, leading to growing public disenchantment with the scope and direction of integration and increased demands for either the scaling back, or disengagement from the supranational project as in the UK.
Taking off from the non-American spelling of ‘globalisations’ (with two letters ‘s’), this chapter invites readers to consider the pedagogical need to address the plurality and heterogeneity of global integration patterns while nevertheless also attending simultaneously to the singularizing effects and integrative imperatives associated with market-led global neoliberalization. Making this distinction also makes it possible to question the necessity of neoliberal reforms which are so frequently justified in terms of Globalization. Denaturalizing this discourse in turn demands careful evidence-based critiques of the myths of new-ness, inevitability and levelling that commonly come with all the appeals to Globalization. It is argued here that critical geographies of globalisations can be usefully drawn on in efforts to teach against these myths. Such critical pedagogy can help students start to think about alternatives to Globalization too. And, even within the confines of corporatizing universities, this can in turn assist students and teachers alike in turning neoliberal governmentality’s trademark emphasis on personal responsibility into new and more enabling forms of response ability for life lived interdependently in a globalising world.
This chapter presents an overview of economic globalization between the late Middle Ages and the last quarter of the twentieth century. The emphasis is on the exchange of products and people. The text shows that economic globalization has not been a uni-linear, straightforward process but one with major turning points, ups and downs and often very different timing, causes and consequences in different parts of the world. After an introduction and some comments on economic globalization before ‘Columbus’, the text discusses developments in the early modern era; the long nineteenth century; de-globalization between the First World War and the end of the Second World War, and finally the re-globalization that began after the Second World War. Without denying the fundamental importance of geographical and technological factors in constraining and enabling intercontinental exchange the author pays special attention to the importance of power and politics as factors that led to economic integration and disintegration.
Research into ‘world cities’ has helped rooting (urban) geography in globalization debates. The world city literature focuses on a broad range of topics, and adopts very different ontologies, epistemologies, and methodologies. In spite of this multiplicity, the literature collectively deepens and extends our understanding of how (1) specific cities function as key platforms in the organization of a globalized economy/society; and (2) how this impacts socio-spatial changes within those cities. Nonetheless, because the literature lacks a central paradigm, even the most widely cited contributions are best understood as specific building blocks within an increasingly diverse literature on cities in globalization. The chapter reviews key conceptualizations of world cities and how these have become increasingly extended and contested; the main spatiotemporal and organizational dimensions of world city-formation; discusses a mapping of world cities based on the geographies of the office networks of producer services firms; and charts major future research agendas.
World-systems analysis studies the development of our world-system. Its units of analysis to explain social change are not nation-states, but world-systems. There were, until the nineteenth century, many different and dissimilar types of world-systems – world-empires and world-economies – in the world. These have over the centuries been subjugated by the capitalist world-economy which emerged at the end of the Middle Ages in Europe. Analysing these long-term historical processes is central in world-systems analysis. It focuses not on the newest features of globalization, but on the processes which over the centuries have formed our modern world-system. This started as a European world-economy and has always functioned as a capitalist world-economy. It has over the centuries gone through several distinct phases of development and has subsequently incorporated all areas on the globe. The peripheralization of these areas enabled the core to prosper. World-systems analysis focuses on the complex processes through which the inequalities in the world-system are reproduced at the systems level, but are changeable at the state level. The semi-periphery plays an important role in both stabilizing the world-system as a whole and enabling some states to improve their position in the world-system. These changes in position in the world-system are linked to its economic cycle of growth and stagnation and its political cycle of rivalry and hegemony. Besides these recurrent cycles there are also trends which change and undermine the present world-system.