Rethinking innovation through a cultural economic geography perspective: A case study of the consumer electronics industry in Shenzhen, China
Map Library, Rm10.10, 10/F, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU
Miss Lyu Zuyi PhD Student, Department of Geography, HKU
This research utilizes theories adopted from cultural economic geography to examine two different types of innovation systems in the consumer electronics industry in Shenzhen, namely that of an emerging group of “makers” and that of new technology enterprises, with an aim to develop a systematic theoretical framework for re-thinking the dynamics, mechanisms and processes of innovation. More specifically, by comprehensively adopting research methods including participant observation, in-depth interview, visual and textual analysis and big-date mining, this research, on the one hand, concentrates on the social and cultural dimensions of innovative behaviors, in order to reveal how innovation, as an economic activity, is shaped by innovators’ cultural meanings and power relationships. On the other hand, it pays attention to the social and cultural context where new technologies are consumed and used, so as to reveal how new cultural meanings, discourses and habitus are given rise to both everyday life and technologies, therefore innovation should be interpreted as a two-way process being (re)constructed in the broader social and cultural fabrics. On top of these theoretical explorations, this research also explains how the above-mentioned cultural mechanisms are implicated in spatial processes and networks anchored both at the global and the local scales. As a result, the place is argued to act as a nexus of global-local intersection in the ongoing negotiation of innovation. This research contributes to better understanding on the creation and transformation of technology by reconceptualizing innovation as a socially embedded and cultural mediated process. This research also helps to rethink concepts like innovation, technology and mobility in dominant academic narratives by bringing innovation patterns and trajectories at the local scale to the fore of theoretical thinking.
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