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Call for Papers


Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers, Washington, D.C.,
April 3-7, 2019


Emerging industries: Institutions, legitimacy and system building


Session Organizers: Huiwen Gong (Kiel University), Christian Binz (Swiss
Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology), Robert Hassink (Kiel
University), Michaela Trippl (University of Vienna)


In recent decades, the emergence of internet-related, biotechnology-based
and ‘green’ industries has catalyzed significant economic development in
regions, nations and globally. Accordingly, ‘emerging’, ‘embryonic’ and
‘nascent’ industries, as well as the dynamics of industrial path creation in
regions (Fornahl et al., 2012; Grillitsch et al. 2017; Hassink et al. 2018;
MacKinnon et al. 2018), have received renewed interest in research and
policy making (e.g., Tödtling and Trippl 2018; Forbes and Kirsch, 2011; Binz
et al., 2016b; Gustafsson et al., 2016; Carvalho and Vale, 2018; York and
Lenox, 2014). Economic geographers have studied emerging industries have
from multiple perspectives, four of which stand out: evolutionary approaches
(path dependence, path creation, regional branching etc.), institutional
theory (bricolage, institutional entrepreneurship, legitimacy etc.),
organizational ecology (Gustafsson et al., 2016), as well as (regional and
technological) innovation systems.


While these approaches have contributed complementary insights into the
mechanisms of new industry emergence, a range of significant questions
remain unanswered, particularly concerning the institutional contexts in
which new industries form. Newly emerging industries like car sharing,
renewable energy or personalized medicine fundamentally challenge taken-for
granted regulations, norms, and cultural beliefs. As such, their emergence
and diffusion depends not only on ‘supply-side’ knowledge dynamics (which
are traditionally the focus of economic geographers), but also on structural
shifts in the relevant valuation systems and institutional structures.
Whether new industries emerge, directly depends on how early entrepreneurs
are able to alter incumbent institutional structures through collective
institutional entrepreneurship/work, legitimation or system building


At the same time, economic globalization increasingly interconnects industry
actors and institutional structures in distant places. Most emerging
industries are not only confronted with institutional barriers at one
particular spatial scale (e.g. inside one city or region) anymore, but
depend on highly complex, multi-scalar institutional arrangements that may
facilitate or hinder the emergence of new technologies and practices. Where,
how and at what scale early entrepreneurs may best intervene in these
multi-scalar arrangements is a largely open research question.  


Moreover, whilst recent scholars, informed by institutional theories in
other disciplines, have started to pay increasing attention to the role of
agency in institutional dynamics, such as institutional entrepreneurship
(Sotarauta and Mustikkamäki, 2015), and multi-actor legitimacy building
(Bergek et al., 2008; Geels and Verhees, 2011), for emerging technologies
and nascent industries, fundamental issues such as the institutional logics
behind such agencies, and the interplay between materiality and legitimacy
dynamics in space, remain poorly understood.


This session therefore aims at bringing together scholars who analyze the
emergence of new industries from an institutional perspective and at several
spatial scales (regional, national, global). We welcome conceptual,
methodological and empirical papers that examine the topics of multi-scalar
institutional agencies, institutional entrepreneurship, as well as
legitimation and valuation dynamics, which are relevant for the emergence of
new industries. We see particular potential in tackling the following


n  What multi-scalar institutional arrangements hinder or support the
creation of new industrial paths in a given region/country? Why do new
industrial paths succeed in certain institutional contexts while they fail
in others? (Coenen et al., 2012; Hansen and Coenen, 2015)

n  In nascent sectors, what kinds of institutional work are necessary in
order to create, maintain and disrupt the institutional arrangements that
the emerging industries are embedded in? (Fuenfschilling and Truffer, 2016;
Hampel et al., 2017; Lawrence et al., 2013)

n  How is legitimacy for emerging industries built up (e.g., artificial
intelligence, biotechnology, biogenetics, and driverless vehicles) in
regions/nations/ internationally? How do institutional actors react to
sudden shocks or erosion of accumulated legitimacy? (Markard et al., 2016)
How do institutions co-evolve with an emerging industry’s development
trajectory? (Gong and Hassink, 2018)

n  What are incumbent’s strategies to de-legitimize emerging (and
potentially disruptive) competitors?

n  How do legitimation processes differ between types of regions and between
industries with varying technology characteristics? (Binz and Truffer, 2017;
Huenteler et al., 2016; Isaksen and Trippl, 2016)

n  What roles do (institutional) entrepreneurs and firms, policy-makers,
end-users, and various intermediary actors play in (de-)legitimizing the
emerging industries? (Binz et al. 2016a) 

n  How do the emerging industries differ from the established ones in terms
of institutional logics? (Thornton et al., 2012; Gawer and Phillips, 2013)
How do the coexistence, conflicts, and convergence of diverse institutional
logics contribute to the development dynamics of the emerging industries?
(Seo and Creed, 2002; Gawer and Phillips, 2013)

n  How does the emergence of new technologies and materiality influence the
institutional work of relevant stakeholders at several spatial scales? What
are the preconditions for the interpretation/sense-making of emerging
industries and how do they differ from place to place? (Raviola and Norbäck,
2013; De Vaujany, 2018)

n  What are the common institutional obstacles that regional/national
policy-makers come across in supporting an emerging industry? And how to
overcome them? 


Please submit your abstract (max. 250 words) to Huiwen Gong
<mailto:g...@geographie.uni-kiel.de> g...@geographie.uni-kiel.de, Christian
Binz  <mailto:christian.b...@eawag.ch> christian.b...@eawag.ch, Robert
Hassink  <mailto:hass...@geographie.uni-kiel.de>
hass...@geographie.uni-kiel.de and Michaela Trippl
<mailto:michaela.tri...@univie.ac.at> michaela.tri...@univie.ac.at by
Wednesday 10th October.

We will notify authors by Wednesday October 17th.





Bergek, A., Hekkert, M., Jacobsson, S., Markard, J., Sandén, B., & Truffer,
B. (2015). Technological innovation systems in contexts: Conceptualizing
contextual structures and interaction dynamics. Environmental Innovation and
Societal Transitions, 16, 51-64.


Binz, C., Harris-Lovett, S., Kiparsky, M., Sedlak, D. L., and Truffer, B.
(2016a) The thorny road to technology legitimation—Institutional work for
potable water reuse in California, Technological Forecasting and Social
Change, 103: 249-263.


Binz, C., Truffer, B., and Coenen, L. (2016b) Path creation as a process of
resource alignment and anchoring: Industry formation for on-site water
recycling in Beijing, Economic Geography, 92: 172-200.


Binz, C., Truffer, B., 2017. Global Innovation Systems—A conceptual
framework for innovation dynamics in transnational contexts. Research Policy
64 (7), 1284-1298.


Carvalho, L., Vale, M., 2018. Biotech by bricolage? Agency, institutional
relatedness and new path development in peripheral regions. Cambridge
Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 11 (2), 275-295. 


Coenen, L., Benneworth, P., Truffer, B., 2012. Toward a spatial perspective
on sustainability transitions. Research Policy 41 (6), 968-979. 


De Vaujany, F. X. (2018). Legitimation process in organizations and
organizing: An ontological discussion.


Forbes, D. P. and Kirsch, D. A. (2011) The study of emerging industries:
Recognizing and responding to some central problems, Journal of Business
Venturing, 26: 589-602.


Fornahl, D., Hassink, R., Klaerding, C., Mossig, I., and Schröder, H. (2012)
>From the old path of shipbuilding onto the new path of offshore wind energy?
The case of northern Germany, European Planning Studies, 20: 835-855.


Fuenfschilling, L., & Truffer, B. (2016). The interplay of institutions,
actors and technologies in socio-technical systems—An analysis of
transformations in the Australian urban water sector. Technological
Forecasting and Social Change, 103, 298-312.


Gawer, A., & Phillips, N. (2013). Institutional work as logics shift: The
case of Intel’s transformation to platform leader. Organization studies,
34(8), 1035-1071.


Geels, F. W., & Verhees, B. (2011). Cultural legitimacy and framing
struggles in innovation journeys: a cultural-performative perspective and a
case study of Dutch nuclear energy (1945–1986). Technological Forecasting
and Social Change, 78(6), 910-930.


Gong, H. and Hassink, R. (2018) Co-evolution in contemporary economic
geography: towards a theoretical framework. Regional Studies (forthcoming).


Grillitsch, M., Asheim, B., Trippl, M., 2017. Unrelated knowledge
combinations: Unexplored potential for regional industrial path development.
Papers in Innovation Studies (Paper no. 2017/10). 


Gustafsson, R., Jääskeläinen, M., Maula, M., and Uotila, J. (2016) Emergence
of industries: A review and future directions, International Journal of
Management Reviews, 18: 28-50.


Hansen, T., Coenen, L., 2015. The geography of sustainability transitions:
Review, synthesis and reflections on an emergent research field.
Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 17, 92-109. 


Hampel, C., Lawrence, T. B., & Tracey, P. (2017). Institutional work: Taking
stock and making it matter. In Greenwood, R., Oliver, C., Lawrence, T. B., &
Meyer, R. E. (Eds.). (2017). The Sage handbook of organizational
institutionalism. Sage


Hassink, R., Isaksen, A., and Trippl, M. (2018) Towards a comprehensive
understanding of new regional industrial path development. Papers in
Economic Geography and Innovation Studies (forthcoming).


Huenteler, J., Schmidt, T., Ossenbrink, J., Hoffmann, V., 2016. Technology
Life-Cycles in the Energy Sector – Technological Characteristics and the
Role of Deployment for Innovation. Technological Forecasting & Social Change
104, 102-121.


Isaksen, A., Trippl, M., 2016. Path development in different regional
innovation systems; A Conceptual Analysis. In M. Parrilli, R. Fitjar, and A.
Rodríguez-Pose (eds.) Innovation Drivers and Regional Innovation Strategies.
New York and London: Routledge 


Lawrence, T. B., Leca, B., & Zilber, T. B. (2013). Institutional work:
Current research, new directions and overlooked issues. Organization
Studies, 34(8), 1023-1033.


MacKinnon, D., Dawley, S., Pike, A., and Cumbers, A. (2018) Rethinking Path
Creation: A Geographical Political Economy Approach, Economic Geography


Markard, J., Wirth, S., & Truffer, B. (2016). Institutional dynamics and
technology legitimacy–A framework and a case study on biogas technology.
Research Policy, 45(1), 330-344.


Raviola, E., & Norbäck, M. (2013). Bringing technology and meaning into
institutional work: Making news at an Italian business newspaper.
Organization Studies, 34(8), 1171-1194.


Sotarauta, M., & Mustikkamäki, N. (2015). Institutional entrepreneurship,
power, and knowledge in innovation systems: institutionalization of
regenerative medicine in Tampere, Finland. Environment and Planning C:
Government and Policy, 33(2), 342-357.


Seo, M. G., & Creed, W. D. (2002). Institutional contradictions, praxis, and
institutional change: A dialectical perspective. Academy of management
review, 27(2), 222-247.


Thornton, P. H., Ocasio, W., & Lounsbury, M. (2012). The institutional
logics perspective: A new approach to culture, structure, and process.
Oxford University Press on Demand.


Tödtling, F., & Trippl, M. (2018). Regional innovation policies for new path
development–beyond neo-liberal and traditional systemic views. European
Planning Studies, 1-17.


York, J. G. and Lenox, M. J. (2014) Exploring the sociocultural determinants
of de novo versus de alio entry in emerging industries, Strategic Management
Journal, 35: 1930-1951.



Robert Hassink

Professor of Economic Geography

Dept. of Geography, Kiel University

Hermann-Rodewald-Str. 9

24098 Kiel, Germany

tel. 0049-431-880-2951

fax 0049-431-880-5290

e-mail:  <mailto:hass...@geographie.uni-kiel.de>



Visiting Professor in the School of Geography, Politics & Sociology (Centre
for Urban & Regional Development Studies (CURDS)), Newcastle University, UK



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