Relational distance: sociocultural and time – spatial tensions in innovation practices
The author discusses and explores empirically how far the notion of relational distance might improve understanding of the geography of innovation processes. Relational distance is regarded (1) as a multidimensional concept which becomes fruitful when used in a heuristic way; (2) as an interactional effect; and (3) as being enacted in practice. The author illustrates this understanding empirically by presenting an ethnographic case study: the development biography of an analytical device. In this case, relational distance emerged between science and business. The author scrutinizes how relational distance not only induces cultural tensions but also intertwines divergent practical activities unfolding differently in space. Thereby it generates dynamic time – spatial ambiguities: namely, effects of dislocation, ambiguities of knowledge allocation, and opportunity costs.
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