Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography

August 18, 2011

# 11.16 Forms of Emergence and the Evolution of Economic Landscapes

Filed under: 2011 — Tags: , , , , — Noegg Blogger @ 8:38 pm

Ron Martin and Peter Sunley


Over the past two decades, the notion of ‘emergence’ has attracted increasing attention and controversy across the social sciences, as par of a growing interest in the applicability of complexity theory to socio-economic-political systems. Within this context, as economic geographers, our concern in this paper is with the usefulness of the idea of emergence for studying the economic landscape and its evolution. We examine three ‘orders’ of emergence, and focus attention especially on the third type, ‘developmental or evolutionary’ emergence. Despite its limitations, the notion of third order emergence is a potentially valuable organizing concept in economic geography. It provides a framework for exploring how it is that the spatial forms of the economy – clusters, regions, firm networks and so on – are recursively related to economic action. 


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