New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Philip Cooke and Luciana Lazzeretti
Chapter 1: Culture, Clusters, Districts and Quarters: Some Reflections on the Scale Question
1. Culture, clusters, districts and quarters: some reﬂections on the scale question Philip Cooke 1. INTRODUCTION Today, the world economy is increasingly equated to a ‘knowledge economy’. It is so called as it more and more places a premium on creativity and innovation as competitive weapons. The knowledge economy is accompanied by a media-driven, symbol-saturated, consumption society in which celebrity, fashion and design compete for attention with traditional elite cultural forms rooted in theatre, music and the ﬁne arts. Cultural transgressions occur in other domains of the cultural ‘ﬁeld’. Universities are now expected to act as economic motors for their regional economies rather than repositories of cultural and scientiﬁc learning alone. They must compete against their peers at home and abroad by driving forward boundary-transcending research rather than mainly reproducing the scientiﬁc canon as a coherent, stable body of knowledge to be passed on to the next generation. If we consider for a moment the following opinion of French science analyst Bruno Latour, Science is certainty; research is uncertainty. Science is supposed to be cold, straight and detached; research is warm, involving and risky. Science puts an end to the vagaries of human disputes; research creates controversies. Science produces objectivity by escaping as much as possible from the shackles of ideology, passions and emotions; research feeds on all of those to render objects of inquiry familiar. (Latour, 1998: 280) we might even consider substituting ‘research’ with ‘culture’ to make sense of the attractiveness of both to contemporary...
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