Putting Culture in its Place in Political Economy
Chapter 10: Competitiveness knowledge brands and service governance: the making of Hong Kong’s competitiveness–integration (dis)order
As discussed in Chapter 8, discourses of ‘competitiveness’ have gone through three stages, from theoretical paradigm, through policy paradigm to knowledge brand. The last is speedily brought to policy markets by academics/ consultants, prominent businessmen, ideas entrepreneurs, think tanks, strategy firms and international organizations. Given the multi-layered, multi-scalar, multi-site nature of these processes (Chapter 8), this chapter explores one particular site – Hong Kong’s road to the (re)making of competitiveness and the politics of economic restructuring and integration. The purpose is to illustrate the recontextualization of Porter’s knowledge brand to Hong Kong via strategy firm and sponsors, and to disclose the complexities and struggles that have been involved in the (re)making of service governance in the city between 1979 and 2013. We identify two overlapping periods with their own specific strategic–discursive moments. This chapter has three sections. First, it examines period one (1979–2004), starting when China opened its doors and saw the creation of a ‘special economic zone’ in the Pearl River Delta in southern China. Some strategic local–industrial actors sought new ways to connect with the zone.
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