Within and outwith/material and political? Local economic development and the spatialities of economic geographies

Authored by: Roger Lee

Handbook of Local and Regional Development

Print publication date:  November  2010
Online publication date:  November  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415548311
eBook ISBN: 9780203842393
Adobe ISBN: 9781136905384

10.4324/9780203842393.ch17

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Abstract

All development is local. It must necessarily take place. In this sense the notion of local development is tautologous. But local development is rarely, if ever, completely bounded by place. And this is not just a question of how ‘local’ or ‘development’ may be defined. Local development intrinsically involves mutually formative and politically significant intersections of territorial and relational spatialities – themselves inseparable and constituted together – across a multitude of organisational and geographical sites. Another way of putting this is that the ‘local’ shapes ‘development’ at the same time as ‘development’ shapes the ‘local’. The one is always insinuated in, and formative of, the other. For example, the diversity of class, gender or ethnic divisions of labour within cities or regions reflects the day-to-day spatialities and social relations of the particular forms of economic activity and the environmental and social topographies through which they take place in those cities and regions. But they also reflect wider economic geographies and the place of particular cities or regions within them as well as the class/gender/ethnic relations associated with these wider geographies. It is the diverse nature of these multiple geographies as much as the engagement or lack of engagement of cities and regions in them that shape and are shaped by the trajectories of urban and regional development or underdevelopment.

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