Edited by Giacomo Becattini, Marco Bellandi and Lisa De Propis
SECTION 2: FROM THE ENGLISH ROOTS TO THE ITALIAN REVIVAL
SECTION 2 From the English roots to the Italian revival Introduction Tiziano Raffaelli 1. A line of descent of reflections on IDs The line of descent connecting 19th century British reflections on industrial districts (IDs) to their recent Italian revival is here highlighted through four flashlight views that illuminate key episodes of the history, and more comprehensively reconstructed by Neil Hart’s chapter, which spans the whole period from the early dismissal of Marshall’s intuitions to their reappearance in contemporary economic geography and their fuller Italian recovery. The first two of the four flashlight chapters, by Peter Groenewegen and Brian Loasby, focus on the British origin of the concept, respectively on its forerunners and on Marshall’s research programme, in which it easily fitted; the last two, by Renzo Bianchi, and Anna Natali and Margherita Russo, deal with its Italian rediscovery, respectively with Becattini and the Florence school, and Brusco and the Modena school. Not by chance, Florence and Modena are two of the main centres of the ‘Third Italy’, whose economies are characterised by thriving IDs unlike that of the ‘industrial triangle’ (Milan–Turin–Genoa), the homeland of big businesses. Hart’s chapter helps to bridge the geographical and historical gap, calling attention to Becattini’s Marshallian studies and the evolutionary interpretation of Marshall’s work, which is here synthetically and clearly presented by one of its main exponents, Loasby. This interpretation is now widely accepted and finds expression in many a chapter of The Elgar Companion to Alfred Marshall (Raffaelli, Becattini and Dardi...
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