Staging experience, valuing authenticity: Towards a market perspective on territorial development
Drawing on particular socio-economic theories, this paper discusses the implications for regional studies of the experience economy approach through the broader question of market valuation. Different forms of market construction are identified and compared with regard to distinct models of regional development. It is observed that most of established territorial innovation models give prominence to a technical form of market valuation driven by technological change, by localized innovative production and by the mobility of goods and services. Conversely, experiential valuation primarily points to alternative models of development focusing on the local capacity to set attractive and engaging stages and to exploit consumer mobility. While the former models have mainly been applied to export-based manufacturing, the latter have essentially been applied to leisure, entertainment and tourism activities. The second part of the paper discusses the limits of technical as well as experiential market valuation in the case of the Swiss watchmaking industry. In such a case, experience in consumption and technology in production appears as strategic economic resources but what is primarily valued is authentic watchmaking. Authenticity is regarded as a third possible form of market valuation revealing specific socio-economic and territorial dynamics. The paper finally argues that market valuation should be considered as a key issue for future understandings of economic and territorial development.
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