The Learning Region

The Learning Region

Foundations, State of the Art, Future

Edited by Roel Rutten and Frans Boekema

The aim of this book is to present a much-needed conceptualization of ‘the learning region’. The editors scrutinize key concepts and issues surrounding this phenomenon, which are then discussed in the context of recent literature. This unique conceptualization of the learning region presents a state of the art exploration of theories. Leading scholars from across Europe, the USA and South Africa draw upon various disciplines to explain how regional actors perform regional learning.

Chapter 6: The Learning Region: A Conceptual Anatomy

Roel Rutten and Frans Boekema

Subjects: business and management, organisational innovation, economics and finance, regional economics, geography, economic geography, innovation and technology, innovation policy, organisational innovation, urban and regional studies, regional economics


Roel Rutten and Frans Boekema Underlying the learning region is a multitude of concepts, many of them interlinked. Although, from their own perspective, the four authors in the foundation section have each discussed several concepts, the results of these four efforts do not amount to a clear conceptualization of the learning region. However, such a conceptualization is necessary as a basis for discussion and elaboration of the learning region in this part of the book. The aim of this chapter, then, is to discuss the four articles from the foundation section and identify from them the key concept used by each author. These concepts are the theoretical building blocks for the learning region and will be identified and brought together in one conceptual framework at the end of this chapter. They will not all be nicely chiselled blocks, nor could they be, as the learning region is not yet a mature concept. Therefore the framework is not a conceptual model in the strict sense; instead, it provides a logical ordering of the various concepts that together form the higher-level concept of the learning region. The framework is, as it were, the conceptual anatomy of the learning region. The next chapters in this part will each explore several of the key concepts identified in this chapter. This chapter therefore forms the logical connection between the conceptual foundations of the learning region and the subsequent discussion of the key concepts in the subsequent chapters. STORPER: ‘WORLDS OF PRODUCTION’ In...

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