A Handbook of Industrial Districts
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A Handbook of Industrial Districts

Edited by Giacomo Becattini, Marco Bellandi and Lisa De Propis

In this comprehensive original reference work, the editors have brought together an unrivalled group of distinguished scholars and practitioners to comment on the historical and contemporary role of industrial districts (IDs).
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Enzo Rullani


SECTION 10 Global challenges Introduction Enzo Rullani 1. Will IDs survive? Will industrial districts (IDs) survive – in practice and in theory – the spread of globalization which is blurring the boundaries between local and global areas of production? The global village brings together, day by day, a mass of local differences, and in so doing it becomes the natural place for ‘hybridizing’ local cultures and models. IDs are, as other forms of localized production systems, part of this creative and multipurpose ‘melting pot’. If IDs, as Charles Sabel said, are ‘on the move’, this happens because they are trying to extract from their history those features and qualities that can remain valuable in this new perspective. The resources of a typical local system (specialization, proximity) are challenged by the pressure of global economy, that force IDs and other localized productive chains to evolve towards more general codes and meanings, as sources and markets enter an extended world network. It is possible that this path can, in the future, destroy local differences and identities, making our world more ‘flat’. But it is also possible that, in other cases, the same trend could increase the value of native differences. In a global chain, each single difference could, in fact, have a greater market and a greater value. 2. From district experience and theory: three main factors Each district, nowadays, is looking at its history and at its specificity with some disquietude. The concerns that emerge can be summarized in some key questions: in...

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