The geography of legitimacy formation in emerging industries - mapping global discourse coalitions in the modular water technology industry

Authors: Jonas Heiberg, Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Bernhard Truffer, Utrecht University, Christian Binz*, EAWAG
Topics: Economic Geography, Social Geography, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: path creation, legitimacy, global innovation system, discourse network analysis, modular water technology
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Blue Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Research in economic geography and transition studies has recently advocated a more systemic and multi-scalar understanding of the determinants of early industry formation and path creation processes. Yet, most of the existing work has focused on supply-side knowledge and innovation dynamics in newly emerging industries, while downplaying the equally important socio-cultural and institutional determinants of path creation. In particular, the formation of valuation-related innovation system resources like financial investment, market formation and technology legitimacy was only cursorily addressed from a multi-scalar perspective. This paper addresses this gap by creating a conceptual framework and methodological approach for mapping the global legitimation dynamics in newly emerging industries. Empirically, it explores the multi-scalar technology legitimation processes for novel water technologies that may contribute to a transition towards more sustainable urban water infrastructures. Discourse Network Analysis (DNA), a methodology combining elements from discourse analysis and social network analysis, is applied to a global sample of newspaper articles covering legitimacy formation processes for modular water technologies. Preliminary results indicate that legitimacy formation depends on complex, multi-scalar actor configurations that resemble the existing evidence on the knowledge dimension. Regional policies to support the legitimation of emerging industries should reflect on these multi-scalar interdependencies and create interventions that either weaken the influence of powerful external ‘regime’ structures or support the local creation and anchoring of supportive ‘niche’ discourses.

Abstract Information

This abstract is already part of a session. View the session here.

To access contact information login