Liability or opportunity? Reconceptualizing the periphery and its role in innovation

Johannes Glueckler, Richard Shearmur, Kirsten Martinus

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    The continued emphasis on innovation in urban and clustered settings has led many geographers to conceive peripheries as laggard and noninnovative. After reconstructing discussions of the periphery in the context of the geography of firm-level innovation, we argue that normative connotations should be stripped away, and that ‘periphery’ and ‘center’ are better understood as positions in a field. We draw upon concepts current in network theory and propose a relational definition of periphery as a distant, dispersed and disconnected position relative to a core within a field. A key distinction is made between the position of an actor in geographical space (location) and the position of an actor in a social network of relations. Combining geographic and network dimensions of an actor’s position, our aim in this paper is to propose a dual coreperiphery framework which provides the vocabulary and concepts to empirically scrutinize the role of periphery in innovation processes. Although we focus on the geography of innovation, this framework can be applied more broadly to discussions of peripherality.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)231-249
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Economic Geography
    Issue number1
    Early online date14 Oct 2022
    Publication statusPublished - 2023


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