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Territorial Innovation Models: A Critical Survey


  • Frank Moulaert
  • Farid Sekia


MOULAERT F. and SEKIA F. (2003) Territorial innovation models: a critical survey, Reg. Studies 37 , 289-302. This paper provides a critical review of the literature on territorial innovation models (industrial districts, milieux innovateurs , new industrial spaces, local production systems, etc.). The review is organized in two stages. First, the main features of each of these models and their view of innovation are compared. Second, their theoretical building blocks are reconstructed and evaluated from the point of view of conceptual clarity and analytical coherence. It is found that despite some semantic unity among the concepts used (economies of agglomeration, endogenous development, systems of innovation, evolution and learning, network organization and governance), territorial innovation models (TIMs) suffer from conceptual ambiguity. The latter is mainly a consequence of the way territorial innovation is theorized, i.e. in terms of technologically driven innovation and a business culture that is mainly instrumental to the capitalist market logic. This pressing ideological priority pushes the "conceptual flexibility' of TIMs across the border of coherent theory building. MOULAERT F. et SEKIA F. (2003) Des modeles de l'innovation territoriale: une etude critique, Reg. Studies 37 , 289-302. Cet article cherche a fournir une etude critique de la documenatation sur les modeles de l' innovation territoriale (p.e. districts industriels, milieux innovateurs, nouveaux espaces industriels, systemes de production locaux). L'etude se fait a deux temps. Dans un premier temps, on compare les principaux caracteristiques de chacun de ces modeles et leur point de vue sur l'innovation. Dans un deuxieme temps, on reconstruit et e value leurs elements de base theoriques quant a leur precision conceptuelle et a leur coherence analytique. Il s'avere que malgre une certaine unite semantique pour ce qui est des notions employees (economies d' agglomeration, developpement autochtone, systemes d' innovation, evolution et apprentissage, organisation de reseau et gouvernance), les modeles d'innovation territoriales (MIT) souffrent d'une ambiguite conceptuelle. Ceci remonte a la facon de theoriser l'innovation territoriale; c'est a dire, en termes de l'innovation determinee par la technologie et par une culture d'entreprise qui repond dans une large mesure au credo du marche. La priorite ideologique urgente pousse la " flexibilite conceptuelle' des MIT au-dela de la frontiere de la construction des theories coherentes. MOULAERT F. und SEKIA F. (2003) Territoriale Innovationsmodelle: eine kritische Untersuchung, Reg. Studies 37 , 289-302. Der vorliegende Aufsatz liefert einen kritischen U berblick uber die Literatur, die sich mit territorialen Innovationsmodellen befasst (Industriegebiete, milieux innovateurs, neue Industrieraume, ortliche Produktionssysteme, usw.). Der Uberblick besteht aus zwei Teilen: zuerst werden sowohl die Hauptzuge jedes dieser Modelle als auch ihre Ansichten uber Innovation verglichen. Dem folgt eine Rekonstruktion ihrer theoretischen Bausteine und Bewertung vom Standpunkt konzeptualer Klarheit und analytischer Koharenz. Es zeigt sich, dass trotz einer gewissen semantischen Einheitlichkeit der dabei benutzten Konzepte (Einsparungen durch Ballung, emdogene Entwicklung, Innovationssysteme, Evolution und Lernen, Netzwerkorganisation und -massnahmen) territoriale Innovationsmodelle (TIMs) unter begrifflicher Vieldeutigkeit leiden. Letztere ergibt sich vorallem infolge der Art und Weise in der territoriale Innovation theorisiert wird, d.h. durch Begriffe technologisch betriebener Innovation und eine Unternehmenskultur, die sich vorallem an die Logik des kapitalistischen Marktes wendet. Dieser nachdrucklich ideologische Vorrang schiebt die "konzeptuelle Elastizitat' der TIMs uber die Grenze der Errichtung einer zusammenhangenden Theorie.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank Moulaert & Farid Sekia, 2003. "Territorial Innovation Models: A Critical Survey," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 289-302.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:37:y:2003:i:3:p:289-302
    DOI: 10.1080/0034340032000065442

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