Reconsidering path creation in economic geography: aspects of agency, temporality and methods
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEuropean Planning Studies. 2016, 24 (9), 1605-1622. 10.1080/09654313.2016.1204427
The emergence of new industrial development paths is an important topic in economic geography. However, current perspectives emphasizing the constraining forces of historical trajectories on innovation and change have shortcomings in accounting for how and where new industries arise. This article argues that more attention needs to be paid to agency, and that agency must be seen as inter-temporal in the sense that actors’ activities and strategies are framed by combinations of experiences and expectations. As such, the article combines insights from economic geography, transitions studies and the sociology of expectations (SoE) literature to expand extant theory on path creation. A brief analysis of the emerging Norwegian offshore wind power (OWP) sector serves to illustrate how experience (the past) and different types of expectations (the future) have tangible effects on agency, and in effect on path creation processes. These insights have methodological implications, essentially favouring qualitative approaches over quantitative one.