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Navigation in new terrain with familiar maps: Masterminding socio-spatial equality through resource oriented innovation policy

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  • Sjur Kasa

    (Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo)

  • Anders Underthun

    (Department of Geography, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

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    Abstract

    This paper explores how political struggles influence innovation policy through a Norwegian case study on the formation of a state-funded research and development program for utilizing natural gas feedstock from the North Sea. Despite the apparent dominance of business, specialized branches of the state, and R&D institutions in the realm of innovation policy, the key argument of this paper is that labor unions and regional interests exert considerable influence in shaping national innovation policy, in particular when reflexively exploiting new forms of state accumulation strategies while retaining a defensive stance against deindustrialization. First, we argue that the struggle for state funding to natural-gasbased R&D was particularly effective because appropriate strategic political networks and alliances were mobilized. Second, the construction of strategic arguments to accommodate the social corporatist heritage of state intervention on the one hand and the competitionoriented language of flexible specialization on the other, proved crucial for acceptance as a state strategy. The paper engages a Strategic– Relational Approach to state theory and argues that this is a useful starting point when studying how particular contexts affect how and why certain innovation policies emerge. In doing so, we also address the lack of political analysis in innovation studies.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo in its series Working Papers on Innovation Studies with number 20091217.

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    Length: 34 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:tik:inowpp:20091217

    Note: Forthcoming in Environment and Planning A, volume 42, 2010.
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