In this chapter, we explore the creation of industry-specific skills as a complex process that juxtaposes social and economic forces in particular contexts. Research on cultural industries in economic geography suggests the role of agglomerations and clusters (Pratt, 1997a, 1997b; Power, 2002; Bathelt and Boggs, 2003; Power and Scott, 2004) in shaping specialized labor markets and developing a social division of labor within them (Storper and Christopherson, 1987; Christopherson and Storper, 1989; Scott, 1996, 1997; Coe, 2000). Unlike traditional views of industry evolution which focus on the company as their principal unit of analysis, literature in economic geography acknowledges that the presence of communities of practice (Wenger, 1998), which arise from shared obligations and commitments to a particular practice, is of equal significance linking individual careers and corporate developments with industry evolution (Arthur et al., 2001). Such communities are often found in spatial clusters of related firms. Networks of individuals and firms linked through both business relations and social ties are seen to have a major role in determining an industry’s evolution and competitiveness. As institutions shaping such networks are deeply ingrained in each society and vary across countries, industry evolution is a process embedded in a specific context. This is suggested by sector-based studies such as multimedia (Scott, 1995; Preston and Kerr, 2001) and film (Jones, 2001) as well as the ‘varieties of capitalism’ approaches of institutional theorists (Hall and Soskice, 2001).
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