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Rhetoric and practice of cultural districts as a model of governance: Empirical evidence from the Veneto region


  • Monica Calcagno

    () (Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia)

  • Maria Lusiani

    () (HEC Montreal)

  • Fabrizio Panozzo

    () (Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia)


Culture is a key word in the story of Italy. The richness of its cultural past together with the present and future potential of its creativity has given culture a central role in the agenda of public policies. As a new element in this pattern, most recently the word ÒcultureÓ has been increasingly and explicitly combined with the word competitiveness. The relationship between the two words is mediated by the creative process and seems to evoke a new model of economic development based on the attempt to govern the economy through a careful use of culture as a key dimension. This connection looks at the territory as the context where cultural processes can be encouraged, and used to transform the economy. The declination of culture as an economic issue produced two main streams of research: a first one focusing on the creative cities and a second one more devoted to the question of cultural clusters. The paper is centred on the second one, and offers a critical review of the literature on cultural cluster and on culture as a key dimension of economic development. The theoretical debate is further discussed through an empirical investigation based on an in depth analysis of a number of entrepreneurial experiences taking place in a limited area of the Veneto region. The final discussion identifies critical key points emerging from the comparison between the rhetoric of the debate and the practice of the experiences.

Suggested Citation

  • Monica Calcagno & Maria Lusiani & Fabrizio Panozzo, 2012. "Rhetoric and practice of cultural districts as a model of governance: Empirical evidence from the Veneto region," Working Papers 19, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
  • Handle: RePEc:vnm:wpdman:32

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Allen J. Scott, 1997. "The Cultural Economy of Cities," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(2), pages 323-339, June.
    2. Luciana Lazzeretti & Rafael Boix & Francesco Capone, 2008. "Do Creative Industries Cluster? Mapping Creative Local Production Systems in Italy and Spain," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(5), pages 549-567.
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    More about this item


    cultural clusters; policy; governance; culture; creativity; culture-led development;

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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