Forms of emergence and the evolution of economic landscapes
Over the past two decades, the notion of ‘emergence’ has attracted increasing attention and controversy across the social science, including economics. Within this context, as economic geographers, our concern in this paper is with the usefulness of the idea of emergence for studying the economic landscape and its evolution. The paper considers in what sense geographical processes and places can legitimately be described as emergent, how such places themselves produce emergent effects, and how we should conceive of and study the ‘emergent’ space economy. To do this, we apply Deacon's (2006) models of first-order, second-order and third-order emergence, and trace through their implications for constructing an ‘emergence perspective’ in economic geography. The notion of third-order emergence is argued to be the most promising, since it focuses explicitly on emergence as an evolutionary process. What is evident, however, is that a notion developed mainly for applications in physical and biological systems requires further elaboration and exploration if it is to provide explanatory leverage in studying the evolution of economic landscapes.
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Volume (Year): 82 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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