Online project meeting (31.03-01.04. 2020)

Due to the restrictions on travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic, ACORE Cardiff team has organised an online project meeting. All project teams have participated in the meeting and contributed to the discussion on the progress of individual projects and the joint research.

The first-day programme focused on individual projects. Each researcher gave a brief account of the advancement of her/his research project, including advancing the theoretical argument, refining research questions, and settling the methodological framework. Moreover, they have summarised the progress of their empirical work and laid a plan for furthering field work, with a view of entering the analysis stage in 2020 and linking research to planned publication and dissemination activities. The discussion that followed the presentations revolved around the following key themes:

  1. conceptual issues such as defining change and development, relations of narratives and real-world processes, scalar-relational understanding of agency, and relating in-depth, locally-focused analysis to wider processes of change;
  2. Operationalising change, agency, structure and dealing issues of lagging indicator and attribution;
  3. problems of methodology such as choosing and combining relevant methods to grasp dynamic structure-agency relations, addressing gaps of data, and reflecting on the positionality of researcher and research ethics.

The second-day discussion focused on the overarching themes, joint publication and disseminations activities, and shared issues that researcher face during various stages of project work. The following topic appeared prominently in the discussion.

  1. developing the common conceptual framework further in order to respond to emerging issues, such as: agents and their relations, balancing national/locally focused case studies, and the overall international comparative approach;
  2. reflecting upon the emergent situations, such as the pandemic and its consequences, and the Brexit;
  3. planning and preparing joint publication activities, including an edited volume and a special issue.

Growth, polarization, depndencies – urban recovery and uneven development on the periphery (Békéscsaba, 06.December, 2019)

A workshop was co-organised by the network of economic geographers and the Centre for Economic and Regional Studies ACORE team to discuss the multiplicity of trajectories of economic recovery in old industrial towns, to reveal agencies and social relations driving reindustrialization, and highlight social and environmental conflicts stemming from change. The three cases (Tatabánya, Dunaújváros, Martfű) presented at the workshop embody different paths of re/industrialization, yet all faced deep and subsequent structural crises that were responded by local agents by mobilizing endogenous resources, their relational assets and external capital. The change raised new dependencies, inequalities and risks that question the sustainability of new economic trajectories and make the new centrality of the discussed towns ambiguous.

The discussion of diverse local trajectories and their national and global/peripheral context supported unfolding the ACORE case studies and developing the analytical framework for the field work results – considering the multiplicity of agencies, dependencies, and centralities/peripheralities, challenging binary thinking.

OECD-KDI Workshop on Innovation Diffusion (Paris, 13 December, 2019)

This workshop focused on diffusion of innovation at the regional and firm levels. While innovation is a key factor of productivity and long-term growth, the ability to innovate varies across regions and organisations and depends on the capacity to absorb external knowledge, the size of a firm, regional knowledge base, and institutional capacity of a region. As a rule, SMEs are not as innovative as ‘frontier’ firms because they are constrained by limited resources, the rigidity of the labour market, and poor connections to other firms and research centres. At the regional level, barriers to innovation diffusion include path-dependence and various lock-ins.

From ACORE’s perspective, research should engage more actively with less developed regions and sectors, instead of focusing on leading regions and frontier firms (and expecting ‘lagging’ regions and firms to catch up and replicate their success). We treat peripherality as a complex condition that involves multiple dependencies between ‘centres’ and ‘peripheries’. To understand the process of novelty creation in less developed regions, ACORE conceptualises innovation as inclusive, socially embedded, and actor-driven. Innovation should not be confined to firms, products, and processes but also include areas of governance, institutional design, and policy. ACORE contribution to the OECD workshop was provided by Nadir Kinossian.

Forthcoming conference papers by project partners

  • Píša, J. (2019) Looking for change in old-industrial towns: but what kind of change? 4th workshop of the Young Economic Geographers Network (YEGN) Regional Development and Peripheral Regions held at Umeå University, 20th-21st of August 2019.
  • Nagy, E, Nagy, G. (2019) Consumption-centred urban restructuring as a source for citizenship? Understanding state-society relations in a peripheral context. RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, London 27th-30th of August, 2019.
  • Mihály, M. (2019) Mapping the environmental and social conflicts of the economic restructuring in a formerly model socialist city. 8th International Urban Geographies of Post-communist States Conference, Belgrade, Sept. 25-29, 2019
  • Nagy, E, Nagy, G. (2019) The visible hand in the making of CEE periphery: state agency and unfolding multiple dependencies in non-metropolitan industrial enclaves in Hungary. 8th International Urban Geographies of Post-communist States Conference, Belgrade, Sept. 25-29, 2019

A workshop on social agencies in local development at Corvinus University, Buadpest

A joint workshop of ‘Socio-spatial inequalities’ horizontal network of CERS HAS and the Corvinus University, Budapest; organised by Melinda Mihály, focused on social social agencies in innovation and local economic restructuring; Corvinus University, Budapest, 30/05/2019; /for and overview, see:  http://www.rkk.hu/hu/vezeto_hirek/vitaules-a-tarsadalmi-innovacio-tarsadalmi-teruleti-aspektusairol.html  

Opening Workshop 24-26 February 2019, Leipzig

Opening Workshop of the ACORE project will take place on the 24th-26th February, 2019 at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL) Schongauerstraße 9, 04328 Leipzig.

We are very happy to announce that we have Professor Robert Hassink as a keynote speaker at the Opening Workshop. The topic of the talk is “Locked in Lock-Ins? Theorizing on the Restructuring of Old Industrial Regions”.

Robert Hassink is Professor of Economic Geography at Kiel University in Germany (www.wigeo.uni-kiel.de) and Visiting Professor in the School of Geography, Politics & Sociology at Newcastle University, UK. His research focuses on theories and paradigms of economic geography, industrial restructuring and regional economic development, creative industries, and regional innovation policy.

For the details, see the flyer.

CfP for the 8th Nordic Geographers Meeting in Trondheim, Norway

Please consider this CfP for the NGM 2019 in Trondheim, Norway (June 16-19, 2019), for a paper session Regional development paths and critical junctures.

Session organisers:

Dr Markus Grillitsch, Department of Human Geography & CIRLCE – Center for Innovation Research and Competence in a Learning Economy, Lund University;

Dr Nadir Kinossian, Department of Regional Geography of Europe, the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL)

Regional development paths and critical junctures

This session will explore possible linkages between the current debates in (1) regional path development studies, and (2) critical junctures and window of opportunity studies. Structural factors such as industrial composition, the size of the economy, or the level of infrastructure can only partly explain regional development paths. Changes in politics, policy, and institutions can be explained by analysing the behaviour of actors. If we presuppose that the establishment of a new regional development path is an outcome of a critical juncture in economic or institutional development, we could use the critical juncture literature to explain the mechanism of such change.

This session invites contributions that i) disentangle the effects of structure and agency on regional economic change; ii) link institutional change and regional development, and iii) focus on the micro-level processes, agents and their networks. Contributing to this line of inquiry, this session invites papers that address the following questions:

  • To what extent, under which conditions, and how can agency contribute to regional growth paths beyond what could be expected due to structural preconditions?
  • How can critical junctures and window of opportunity models be used to analyse regional path development?
  • Which processes within and beyond firms underpin regional growth paths?
  • What are the causal factors explaining new path development in (different types of) regions?
  • How do different regional industrial paths interplay and shape regional growth paths?
  • What is the role of policy in shaping regional growth paths?

Please send an abstract of around 300 words to: markus.grillitsch@keg.lu.se and n_kinossian@ifl-leipzig.de

Deadline for abstract submission: December 15, 2018

Notification: January 15, 2019

More information from the conference web site: https://www.ntnu.edu/geography/ngm-2019