Measuring Innovation Space: Numerical Devices as Governmental Technologies
2016 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Throughout Europe sub-national regions are restructured and reformed in line with the EU2020 policy program which dictates a clear focus on growth through the fostering of innovation and entrepreneurship. While this process is articulated differently in separate contexts it has a range of common features. One of these is the wide spread adoption of calculative devices and measurement tools that are installed as transparent means for governing and monitoring the ongoing strive for growth and innovation. In this paper it is argued that the contemporary practices and discourses tied to regional development in Europe and beyond can be described as the production of new innovation spaces. Intrinsic to this production is a vast register of indices, rankings and award ceremonies directed at finding and monitoring the most innovative regions, projects and policies which in turn facilitates the grounds for notions of policy learning and so called best practice. By mobilizing the growing literature on the sociological functions of numbers as well as the scholarship on the politics and power of calculative practices in governance, the paper critically examines important aspects of the installment of innovation spaces. More specifically, by following the manufacturing and installment of an index designed to measure innovative capacity of Swedish regions, the paper shows how such governmental technologies helps to legitimize and depoliticize the production of innovation spaces. The index has been released in three iterations since 2011 with an explicit focus on ranking for the sake of policy learning. It is produced by RegLab, an organization comprised of the 21 regions in Sweden as well as a number of important state agencies, and its deployment and influence on regional policy is traced here by focusing on the documentation and detailed description of the numerical calculations and data sources that are assembled together in order to produce the composite measures used to asses the innovative capacity of all regions. Moreover the influence of the index and its manifest expressions in regional policy is illustrated by examining some of the Regional Development Strategies (RDS).
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hull, Great Britain, 2016.
Regional development, Calculation, Space, Governmentality, Ranking
Research subject Human Geography; Political Science
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-47703OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-47703DiVA: diva2:1068066
Interpretive Policy Analysis 11th International Conference, Panel: Constructing Policy, Crafting Spaces - Critical Perspectives on Policy and Space 5-7th July University of Hull.