262S11+Bridge+and+Wood+_22Geographies+of+knowledge%2C+Practices+of+globalization-+Learning+from+the+

262S11+Bridge+and+Wood+_22Geographies+of+knowledge%2C+Practices+of+globalization-+Learning+from+the+

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ISSN 0004-0894 © Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) 2005 Area (2005) 37.2, 199–208 ackwel Publishing, Ltd. Geographies of knowledge, practices of globalization: learning from the oil exploration and production industry Gavin Bridge* and Andrew Wood** *School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester, Marchester M13 9PL **Department of Geography, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA Email: [email protected] Revised manuscript received 2 February 2005 In this paper we initiate a dialogue between work on the geographies of globalization and knowledge economies, areas of inquiry that have tended to develop in isolation. We argue for a critical harnessing of these two bodies of work to (1) understand how and where different types of knowledge are acquired, produced and mobilized by firms as they seek to ‘go global’, (2) map the multi-scalar geographies of knowledge that enable practices of globalization and (3) examine the ways in which networks of knowledge structure emerging geographies of production. We demonstrate the potential of this move using oil exploration and production as an example. Key words: globalization, knowledge, economic geography, resources, oil Globalization and the knowledge economy The concept of globalization has emerged as a central theme within geography and the social sciences over the last decade (Cox 1997; Held et al. 1999). Contemporary research by economic geographers is largely critical of orthodox accounts, which tend to portray globalization as a systemic and inevitable force. To challenge conventional representations, a number of economic geographers recently have turned attention to the practices that constitute globalization and, in particular, to the ways in which firms achieve global reach (Thrift 1996; Coe and Yeung 2001; Dicken et al. 2001; Henderson et al. 2002). These studies frame global reach as a strategic challenge – a set of practices that must be initiated, developed and maintained over time if firms are to ‘go global’ – and begin to map the networks of actors and institutions that enable firms to successfully operate in diverse, often unfamiliar environments. Although still emerging, such critical ‘mappings’ of globalization capture the contingencies and complexities of achieving global reach. At the same time, the last decade has also seen a proliferation of popular and scholarly literature on the ‘knowledge economy’ (Castells 1996; Neef 1997; Leyshon 2000; Bryson et al. 2001; Cooke 2002; Gertler 2003). Much of this literature asserts that knowledge has become increasingly significant as an economic resource and that ‘the ability of labour, firms, regions and nations to produce, circulate and apply knowledge is fundamental to economic growth and competitiveness’ (Henry and Pollard 2000; Castells 1996). Evidence for the emergence of distinctive ‘knowledge economies’ frequently turns on the rise of knowledge-intensive sectors, the reshuffling of the
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262S11+Bridge+and+Wood+_22Geographies+of+knowledge%2C+Practices+of+globalization-+Learning+from+the+

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