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Conference
Fifth Proximity Congress

Organized by:
GRES and Proximity Dynamics Group
Université Montesquieu - Bordeaux IV
35 place Pey Berland, Bordeaux, France
June 28 - 30, 2006

 


 

The GRES

GRES (Groupement de Recherches Economiques et Sociales - Economic and Social Research Unit) brings together two laboratories : The Federative Institute of research on economic dynamics (IFReDE -GRES) of the University of Bordeaux 4 and the laboratory of Studies and research on economics, policies and social systems (Lereps-GRES) of the University of social sciences of Toulouse 1.

Conference Presentation

Proximity economics, at the intersection of spatial and industrial analysis, constitute an attempt to study the role that the different forms of proximity play in the coordination of economic activities. Organised every two years, the Proximity Congress is a high water mark for confronting studies by researchers interested in this topic. It is addressed to economists, geographers, sociologists, national and regional development planners, and more generally to social science specialists, linking their research fields to that of space.

Call for papers

Proximity economics, at the intersection of spatial and industrial analysis, constitute an attempt to study the role that the different forms of proximity play in the coordination of activities.

Organised every two years, the Proximity Congress is a high water mark for confronting studies by researchers interested in this topic. It is addressed to economists, geographers, sociologists, national and regional development planners, and more generally to social science specialists, linking their research fields to that of space.

Open to any and all reflections on the role that proximity plays in the interactions linking agents, organisations or institutions, this fifth edition will be specifically geared towards three main axes reflecting recent lines of questioning that could help to shed new light on proximity’s underlying dynamics.

Models and measurements of proximity

Proximity can be apprehended as the expression of agents’ potential for interacting. Agents’ rationality can be situated within this framework since it depends on the interaction’s context. Location can be deduced from the coordination interplay that is associated with the mobilisation of various forms of proximity. Thus, geographic proximity only constitutes a particular form of coordination, one that may be complementary with other organised forms of proximity. Beyond the necessary clarification of concepts, and even as recent empirical and conceptual advances have turned into veritable gold mines of new knowledge, there remains a need for new ways towards deeper understanding. The empirical requirement has to be accompanied first of all by the need for more systematic statistical analyses. This raises a number of questions concerning the different types of indicators, tools and methods that can be used in the field of proximity analysis. To complement this, we find research into the modelling of forms of proximity, specifically involving the characterisation of network structures and forms of coordination. Spatial analysis of networks of actors and communities has become omnipresent in innovation and growth process studies. In the same way, actors’s mobility and ICT-based mediations are giving reason to reflect upon the new forms of proximity, and specifically on its temporary forms.

Institutional diversity and variety of forms de proximity

An interactionist approach to coordination wants to avoid the stumbling stones that are the under-socialisation of methodological individualism and the over-socialisation of holism. Although analysis centres on individuals, their actions are socially embedded and cannot be analysed independently of this context. This articulation of different levels of analysis between interactions and institutions dynamics is a question that remains largely up for debate. Proximity, as the product or the support mechanism for an institutional context, can be mobilised in a variety of ways, depending on the spaces in question. We should therefore be trying to apprehend which are the coherent modes of articulation connecting forms of proximity mobilisation and institutional configurations (territorial, sectoral,…).

Scales of proximity

Along these same lines, scale of analysis questions are raised whenever the interplay between interactions and institutions is directly apprehended at a spatial level. Much research has been done on the topic of clusters, studies that situate regional policies at the forefront of a European integration context. Complementing this, we have witnessed a return to critical analyses of certain approaches’ « localist » nature. The interconnection between activities’ local and global dynamics and their governance continues to be a topic for debate within the scientific community and invite us to revisit the substitutable or complementary nature of the local and global relations that reside at the heart of a proximity dynamics-based approach.

Proposed topics

Theoretical considerations on proximity dynamics
• Definitions and categorization of proximities
• Modeling proximity and interactions
• Institutional embeddedness and proximity
• Territorial lock-in and negative aspects of proximities

Proximity, innovation and clusters
• Proximity and knowledge
• Modeling behavioral and structural dynamics of clusters
• Sectoral analysis of proximity relations
• Critical assessments on clusters

Measures of proximity
• Theoretical considerations on proximity measures
• Econometric analysis of knowledge spillovers
• Measuring the relational and organizational dimensions of proximities
• Measuring the role of institutions in regional systems of innovation and production

Territorial dynamics and public action
• Proximity, education and local labor relations
• Institutions and multi-level governance in regional performance
• Proximity and environment
• Proximity in rural areas
• Proximity, innovation and cities

Other topics
• Proximity in various disciplines (economics, sociology, geography, psychology, regional planning, management, mathematics…)
• Proximity, social capital and social networks
• Mobility, ICT and temporary proximity
• Proximity and globalization of space and firms

Specials sessions opened to institutions and firms
• Proximity and the French Policies on “competitiveness poles”
• Proximity in firms' creation and spin-offs

Deadline

Abstract Deadline: January 15, 2006
Paper Deadline: May 15, 2006

Organization

ZZZ Prova

This is just a draft. Thank you for your patience.

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