Policy mobilities, politics of scale and latecomer advantages: Globalizing strategies of small inland cities

Authors: Shenjing He*, The University of Hong Kong
Topics: Urban Geography, Political Geography
Keywords: Policy mobilities, politics of scale, latecomer advantages, policy pathways, small inland cities, globalization
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Washington 1, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The literature of policy mobilities examines how policies and governance travel, mutates, accomplish and diffuse across different cities and regions. Policy pathway and its outcomes vary in different local conditions where political ambitions, urban aspirations, institutional legacies, and local conduits are discrepant. This study thus proposes to bridge the literature of policy mobilities and politics of scale to examine these divergent pathways. In the policy world, space as multiple and contingent, constantly shifting in response to the desires of creating prime conditions for capital accumulation or/and achieving a range of political goals through spatial reconfigurations. Therefore the politics of scale involves profound reshuffling of power and capital in the global-national-provincial-urban rescaling process driven by forces from “above” and “below”. Focusing on small Chinese inland cities located in the less developed hinterlands, this research tells a new tale about policy mobilities, latecomer advantages and politics of scale. For small inland cities, the pathway of policy mobilities is usually thwarted by time-lag and the lack of political and economic resources in participating in national and regional entrepreneurial networks. Yet they make full use of latecomer advantages to pave their way to globalization, e.g. mimicking and optimizing successful economic and institutional systems, exploiting their ‘backwardness’ of ‘virgin land’ and cheap land/labor to attract global investments. In addition, the shifting politics of scale transforms the power relations in the fierce inter-city competitions, and offers unique opportunities to these cities to imitate, mutate and diffuse the ‘policy models’ cutting across multi-scalar urban networks.

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