The benefits of not ‘being there’? Knowledge production and socializing online

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Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Thursday, February 5, 201510:00AM - 12:00PM108N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
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Frontiers of Research in Global Innovation


Face-to-face interaction still seems the unrivalled mode of interaction. True, the role of distanciated relations as ‘pipelines’ that transmit valuable information from a variety of sources have been appreciated more recently. And yet, face-to-face interactions still seem matchless in fuelling ‘local buzz’, nurturing trust and conveying tacit knowledge. This presentation takes issue with this reification of ‘being there’. Netnographic research on virtual user communities and on the social network site LinkedIn indicates that online interaction (1) affords unique technical opportunities and social dynamics that foster learning processes unattainable in face-to-face contexts and (2) cannot be reduced to a sensory deprived version of face-to-face communication, but in fact signifies a genuinely novel logic of interaction.

Speaker bio: Gernot Grabher is an economic geographer and Professor of Urban and Regional Economic Studies at the HafenCity University Hamburg. He received his Ph.D. in 1987 at Vienna University of Technology, and held positions at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), King’s College London, the University of Konstanz and the University of Bonn. Grabher was Visiting Professor at Columbia University, Copenhagen Business School, Santa Fe Institute, Cornell University and the Institute of Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Between 2007 and 2011 he was co-editor of Economic Geography. Currently, he is co-editor of the Regions and Cities book series of the Regional Studies Association. Gernot Grabher is internationally renowned for his research on networks, regional evolution and decline, and project organization. His research has been published in numerous articles in the leading academic journals and his books include Networks (with W.W. Powell, 2013, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar); Restructuring Networks in Post-Socialism: Legacies, Linkages, and Localities (with D. Stark, 1997, OUP); In Praise of Waste. Redundancy in Regional Development: A Socioeconomic Case (1994, Berlin: Edition Sigma); The Embedded Firm: On the Socioeconomics of Industrial Networks (1993, Routledge); The Market Shock: An Agenda for the Economic and Social Reconstruction of Central and Eastern Europe (with J. Kregel and E. Matzner, 1992, University of Michigan Press).
Further details:


Essyn Emurla


Gernot Grabher
Chair in Urban and Regional Economic Studies HafenCity University Hamburg

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