Potenzialità di sviluppo del settore ceramico in regioni a notevole intensità del sapere locale: il caso della Sicilia
The first part of the article deals with the artistic ceramics sector, and it shows that the performance of firms in Sicilian “ceramics’ cities” is modest, if compared to Central and North-East Italian districts. This is due to the small dimension of Sicilian firms, and to their “familiar” nature: organizational skills and network links – among firms and with public institutions – are limited. While firms in North and Central Italy are well aware of being part of an integrated system (be it a district or simply a cluster), Sicilian firms behave as individual subjects. This entails different choices as far as production (for housing and furnishing), marketing and agglomeration economies are concerned. The necessity of closer links between firms, policy-makers and local institutions is underlined, for detecting the final goals of the sector, and the appropriate and consistent behaviours of the actors. Sharing firms’ choices makes easier for each single firm to benefit from the achieved system objectives and, thus, can favour, through the inter-firm cooperative link, the self-determination of the objectives themselves. The second part of the article suggests that an industrial development of the sector is necessary in Sicily: local firms have to overcome the current under-capitalization. Large scale and highly capitalized production is possible in this sector, especially for specific production like square tile or tiled-floor, in which the specific local elements can anyway be present (one can think, for instance of the design characteristics). The extension of product varieties leads to larger demand, for all products; this is particularly true, in the presence of a globalised demand for industrial products, which can pay attention to the handcraft product as well. However, infrastructure and local public services are necessary for Sicily to be able to attract investment from firms currently located in Northern Italy (e.g., in Emilia-Romagna): possible investments from such successful firms could be very important to support the development of the ceramics sector in Sicily.
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