Suggestions for a sociological-based Regional Cluster Research

Jonas, Michael (2006) Suggestions for a sociological-based Regional Cluster Research. SECONS Discussion Forum, University of Bonn.

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Leading political, business and academic actors, but also actors in intermediary institutions, in many European regions have joined forces to introduce and develop branches of high technology. These actors often refer to the so-called “cluster concept” (Porter 1990) as a theoretical basis for initiatives or development processes. Naturally, the cluster concept has also provoked a good deal of criticism. On the one hand, cluster research has been characterised as mere scientific embellishment, as a ‘fig leaf’ for
activities serving quite different motives, as a scientific ‘fly weight’. On the other hand, one misses the critical appraisal of contributions to cluster research in the current sociological discourse. There is a lack of research into possible reciprocal stimulation between sociological approaches and the cluster concept. The paper intends to contribute to filling the existing gap. In order to test the cluster concept’s viability, a look is taken at its possible sociological connection, which could serve as a basis for
subsequent empirical research. The paper starts by exploring the cluster concept’s constituent elements. This is followed by an analysis of the explanatory power of sociologically based cluster research and the discussion of the question whether the criticism can be eliminated with the help of sociological concepts. This short summary already hints at the final conclusion: the cluster concept is not rejected; rather, further comparative, social science based cluster research is called for.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: regional clusters, networks, spatial proximity, competition, co-operation, trust, emergence
Research Units: Former Research Groups (until 2017) > Socio-ecological Transformation Research
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2015 15:22
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2016 08:59

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