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Conceptual export and theory mobilities: exploring the reception and development of the “creative city thesis” in the post-socialist urban realm

Borén, T and Young, C (2016) Conceptual export and theory mobilities: exploring the reception and development of the “creative city thesis” in the post-socialist urban realm. Eurasian Geography and Economics. ISSN 1538-7216

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Abstract

This paper addresses the limited contribution of scholarship from within/on the post-socialist urban arena to global urban studies, a phenomenon attributed to the influence of a hegemonic Anglo-American academic complex. We seek to present a more nuanced account by considering scholarship on the “creative city” in a post-socialist context. A numerical analysis of English language publications confirms the lack of impact of scholarship from/on post-socialist areas, though we do identify literature which may be “theory exporting” and emphasize the temporal dimension of the development of scholarship. We then consider the interaction of three global mobilities to present a more nuanced account of this pattern – the “creative city” thesis as globally mobile urban policy, the neoliberalization of universities as a globally mobile restructuring of the context in which these inequalities in knowledge-production are produced, and urban studies theorizing itself as a set of globally mobile concepts and practices. We therefore explore the dynamic interaction of a particular urban phenomenon (“creative city” policy) with academic knowledge production. Adopting this perspective allows us to emphasize other factors such as path dependencies within post-socialist areas and to give due emphasis to agency within the region and how these interact with global processes of neoliberalizing academia.

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