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A Perspective of Economic Geography

Allen Scott ()

Journal of Economic Geography, 2004, vol. 4, issue 5, 479-499

Abstract: The paper opens with a statement on the social embeddedness of knowledge. The disciplinary situation and practices of economic geographers are reviewed in the light of this statement. The rise of a new geographical economics is noted, and its main thrust is summarized in terms of a description of the core model as formulated by Krugman. The geographers' reception of the new geographical economics is described, and some key aspects of this reception are assessed. I then subject the core model itself to critical evaluation. Its claims about pecuniary externalities in the context of Chamberlinian competition provide a number of useful insights. However, I argue that the model is deficient overall in the manner in which it tackles the central problem of agglomeration. The discussion then moves on to consideration of the recent interest shown by many economic geographers in issues of culture. After a brief exposition of what this means for economic geography, I offer the verdict that this shift of emphasis has much to recommend it, but that in some of its more extreme versions it is strongly susceptible to the temptations of philosophical idealism and political voluntarism. In the final part of the paper, I attempt to pinpoint some of the major tasks ahead for economic geography in the phase of post-'late capitalism'. I suggest, in particular, that a new cognitive map of capitalist society as a whole is urgently needed, and I offer some brief remarks about how its basic specifications might be identified. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

Date: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:oup:jecgeo:v:4:y:2004:i:5:p:479-499