Re-thinking ‘peripherality’ in a knowledge-intensive service-dominated economy
Part of book or chapter of book
This mainly conceptual chapter aims to re-consider the meaning and implications of 'peripherality' in the context of a contemporary European economy where service activities have become more important and competition is said to have become more knowledge-based. In doing so, it brings together two areas of literature that have been hitherto disconnected, namely research on peripherality and peripheral regions and research on the spatiality of knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS). The chapter has three main sections. First, the meaning and prior usage of the term of 'peripherality' - particularly in relation to economic development – is reviewed and a multi-dimensional understanding of the concept is articulated. Second, the meaning and implications of peripherality in the specific context of KIBS is explored and reconsidered. The discussion here explores the tradability of services, recent work on 'temporary geographical proximity' and the potential impact of virtual accessibility (via ICT). This leads to the proposal of a tentative continuum of peripherality in KIBS covering four types of location from 'core' to 'extreme periphery'. Finally, some avenues for future research are outlined. Business travel, temporary geographical proximity and the spatial costs facing service firms in 'non-core' locations are identified as important topics for further study.