Firm innovation and spatial ordering through alternative representations of the ‘global knowledge economy’ beyond the Global North

Session organisers:
  • Thilo Lang (Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL), Universität Leipzig, Germany)
  • Robert Hassink (Kiel University, Germany)

The global knowledge economy can be seen as a dominant representation of the global economic order (Roberts 2009, Moisio 2018). In a structuralist reading, the hegemonies of the global economy are perceived as threateningly fixed. We suggest to understand the global knowledge economy as an always unfinished project of ordering socio-spatial relations (Marung and Middell 2019). In this context, we challenge the very idea of firm integration in the global economy and invite for reflections on more diverse readings of the global economy. We suggest that the power-geometries inscribed in to-date core-periphery relations at multiple scales are a crucial factor when it comes to innovation activities and the development of transnational enterprises in ‘peripheral’ locations beyond the Global North (cf. Vanolo 2010) and beyond agglomeration economies (Shearmur, Carrincazeaux, Doloreux 2016). How do internationally active and innovative companies from the ‘double-peripheries’ beyond the Global North emerge and integrate into this global knowledge economy or construct their own understandings of potentially more diverse global economies? With ‘double-periphery’ we play with a Global North understanding of periphery as beyond both, the ‘leading’ world regions in terms of GDP and economic concentration and the nodal points of the global economy, namely global/world cities.
For this session, we invite particularly conceptual and empirical contributions discussing:

  • how global economies are perceived, re-produced or challenged from perspectives beyond the Global North
  • spatial aspects of innovation activities in locally rooted and internationally successful enterprises in ‘double peripheries’
  • empirical results on firm innovation, internationalisation and the geography of innovation in non-core economies, with a particular focus on Africa and Central Asia/ Caucasus
  • the emergence of transnational enterprises/ born globals beyond the Global North
  • how the notions of catching-up and leapfrogging re-produce or challenge pre-defined imaginations of development
  • post-colonial economic geography perspectives allowing for diverse economic practices in the Global South and the Global East
  • researcher positionalities in the field


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