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Edited by David Emanuel Andersson, Åke E. Andersson and Charlotta Mellander
Chapter 15: Why Being There Matters: Finnish Professionals in Silicon Valley
Carol Marie Kiriakos With ‘distances no longer meaning anything’, localities, separated by distances, also lose their meanings. . .. (Bauman, 1998, p. 18) Creative people, in turn, don’t just cluster where the jobs are. They cluster in places that are centers of creativity and also where they like to live. From classical Athens and Rome, to the Florence of the Medici and Elizabethan London, to Greenwich Village and the San Francisco Bay Area, creativity has always gravitated to specific locations. (Florida, 2002, p. 7) Why does being in a location matter for high-tech professionals in a global age? The question is relevant across academic disciplines and bodies of literature. It is one of the fundamental topics related to globalization and has been addressed, in different ways, in social and cultural theory, sociology, economic geography, and innovation and management studies. There seem to be, roughly, two kinds of perspectives on the issue, illustrated in the quotes above: the ‘distance – and therefore location – is dead’ view and the ‘location continues to be crucial’ view. The first emphasizes that virtual technologies make information access and collaboration possible regardless of where one is located. Some authors have declared distance dead (Cairncross, 1997) or meaningless (Bauman, 1998) and, in a similar vein, the world flat (Friedman, 2005). Different theoretical conceptualizations aim to capture this phenomenon, for example, ‘time-space distanciation and the “disembedding” of social relations from local contexts’ (Giddens, 1990); the ‘deterritorialization of the social’ and ‘collapse of distance’ (Beck, 2000); the ‘annulment of temporal/spatial distances’ (Bauman,...
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