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Edited by Giacomo Becattini, Marco Bellandi and Lisa De Propis
SECTION 4: SOCIO-CULTURAL AND INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS
SECTION 4 Socio-cultural and institutional aspects Introduction Paolo Giovannini 1. The extra-economic factors in the life of IDs From the very beginning, reflections and research works on industrial districts (IDs) have drawn categories and tools of analysis from other disciplines, first and foremost economics and sociology, with significant inputs also from history, anthropology, social psychology and political science. In the wake of Marshall and the interpretation proposed by Giacomo Becattini, explicatory elements of an extra-economic, institutional and socio-cultural nature were progressively introduced. Also, with the decisive help of many sociologists, a number of aspects related to IDs were highlighted and specified, in particular those social, cultural and institutional mechanisms operating in the process of the rise, transformation and decline of IDs. This section, to which sociologists and economists alike offer significant contributions, focuses on the role played by different extra-economic factors in the various stages of the life course of an ID. Although all the analyses considered are largely based on the results of important research works (see in particular the chapters by Saglio, Saxenian and Sabel), the contributions presented try to outline some prudent empirical generalisations, with specific reference to the ideal-typical nature of IDs and the elements connected to the different stages of their life cycle. Theoretic and methodological instruments used in studying districts are sometimes freely applied also to explain more general processes of institutional and economic development, as proposed by Saxenian and Sabel, but also by others. The sequential order of the contributions in this section...
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