Restructuring work and the economy in postindustrial cities Ruhr-Universität Bochum
In postindustrial cities and regions, cluster and innovation policies are becoming increasingly important for new growth and employment impulses. Highly specialised industry clusters can be growth engines on the one hand or policy "headaches" on the other. Higher prosperity and, at the same time, increased vulnerability to crises and profound social transformations (e.g. regarding inequalities and employment structure) are an essential characteristic of postindustrial economic systems that also require targeted regional governance. On an aggregate level, sectoral transformations such as the rise of the service economy, and in particular of knowledge-intensive, creative or social services, is associated with changes in the employment system, in the social structure of the working population, and in labour market governance. Yet, local outcomes of regional economic transformations need closer scrutiny as the following questions show:What distinguishes cluster policies in different national innovation systems and how can different regional policies succeed in both creating or expanding competitive advantages and sustainable employment based on knowledge and technology?How can we understand social consequences, and in particular labour market effects of local economic transformations?From a conceptual point of view, the question of agency in specific institutional settings and dynamic environments arises: which regional cluster and innovation policies can be actively shaped by policy makers?How do they account for unintended consequences and possible idiosyncratic logics of specific industries and labour markets?On the basis of these key questions, the seminar would like to place a special focus on the regional level, where post-industrial cities and regions are in a visibly intensifying global competition with each other. Here, regional governance takes place across different spatial levels (municipalities, state, federal and EU-level) and in the interaction of state and non-state actors (multi-level governance). In addition, the governance of multi-player constellations intersects with changes in the structure, dynamics and governance of labour markets, research and higher education or start-ups.The seminar is structured as follows:Based on theoretical introductions to the "Varieties of Capitalism", "regional innovation and cluster policies" and sociology of work and economic sociology,the seminar will work on various international case studies - e.g. from Germany (Ruhr Area), the Netherlands (Eindhoven), Sweden (Gothenburg) and the USA (Silicon Valley) - and compare them against the background of current political developments.In the main part of this seminar, an digital excursion to different clusters in the postindustrial Ruhr Area is planned, where patterns of regional development will be examined. Here, practical questions and insights will be discussed or facilitated in a digital dialogue with policy makers and experts from business and society.By providing conceptual tools from different perspectives and by bringing them in a close dialogue with empirical developments in different post-industrial cities, the seminar aims at enabling participants to understand and critically reflect conceptual merits and limits of different theoretical approaches in understanding the regional processes of restructuring work and the economy. Furthermore, we will reflect on practical conclusions, such as the opportunities and limits of regional cluster and innovation policies as well as the criteria for regional cluster resilience will be outlined.
- For participation: regular attendance (zoom), preparing required readings and tasks in moodle, presentation- For exam: written essay/report (12-15 pages)
Online Course Requirement
Prof. Dr. Birgit Apitzsch & Dr. Rasmus Beck
Programme: Master of Social Sciences/ Study Programme Management and Regulation of work, economy and organization
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