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Creative Cities, Cultural Clusters and Local Economic Development

Edited by Philip Cooke and Luciana Lazzeretti

This book analyses the economic development of cities from the ‘cultural economy’ and ‘creative industry’ perspectives, examining and differentiating them as two related but distinct segments of contemporary city economies. The authors argue that although they are normally conflated, the first is largely subsidized while the second is highly entrepreneurial hence they actually make very different kinds of contribution to a city’s character, attractiveness and competitiveness.
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Chapter 1: Culture, Clusters, Districts and Quarters: Some Reflections on the Scale Question

Philip Cooke


1. Culture, clusters, districts and quarters: some reflections on the scale question Philip Cooke 1. INTRODUCTION Today, the world economy is increasingly equated to a ‘knowledge economy’. It is so called as it more and more places a premium on creativity and innovation as competitive weapons. The knowledge economy is accompanied by a media-driven, symbol-saturated, consumption society in which celebrity, fashion and design compete for attention with traditional elite cultural forms rooted in theatre, music and the fine arts. Cultural transgressions occur in other domains of the cultural ‘field’. Universities are now expected to act as economic motors for their regional economies rather than repositories of cultural and scientific learning alone. They must compete against their peers at home and abroad by driving forward boundary-transcending research rather than mainly reproducing the scientific canon as a coherent, stable body of knowledge to be passed on to the next generation. If we consider for a moment the following opinion of French science analyst Bruno Latour, Science is certainty; research is uncertainty. Science is supposed to be cold, straight and detached; research is warm, involving and risky. Science puts an end to the vagaries of human disputes; research creates controversies. Science produces objectivity by escaping as much as possible from the shackles of ideology, passions and emotions; research feeds on all of those to render objects of inquiry familiar. (Latour, 1998: 280) we might even consider substituting ‘research’ with ‘culture’ to make sense of the attractiveness of both to contemporary...

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