CIRCLE Seminar Series - Christian Binz, EAWAG & CIRCLE
ABSTRACT: Recently, increasing academic and political attention has focused on the initiation and development of new industries in regions. While the extant literature has contributed substantial insights into the knowledge-related determinants of new industry emergence, a range of significant questions remain unanswered, particularly concerning the institutional contexts in which new industrial paths develop. Based on the trajectories of two industries — the video games industry in Hamburg, and the potable water reuse industry in California, this article investigates the efforts taken by multiple actors in legitimizing and thereby embedding new industrial paths in regional institutional structures. We elaborate how industry legitimation dynamics differ between industries that are new-to-the-region (video games,) and industries that are new-to-the-world (potable water reuse,). Our framework contributes to the literature on industrial path development and regional diversification by characterizing the system building and legitimation strategies that appear effective for these two analytically distinct industry formation trajectories.
Christian Binz is a tenure-track group leader in the cluster Sustainable Transitions and Business Innovations (CIRUS) at the Department of Environmental Social Sciences at Eawag, and an Associate Post-Doctoral Researcher at CIRCLE, Lund University, Sweden. He received his PhD in Economic Geography from the University of Bern in 2012. Christian is a recipient of the Giorgio Ruffolo Post-doctoral Research Fellowship in Sustainability Science (2015) at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and has worked as a post-doctoral Research Fellow at Lund University (Sweden), UC Berkeley (USA), Tsinghua University (China) and Eawag.
His main research interests are centered on the potential for transformative innovation in the water and energy sectors. By combining recent insights from transition studies, economic geography and institutional sociology, he aims to explore how multi-scalar institutional arrangements hinder or support radical innovation in clean-tech industries and a broader sustainability transition in the water sector.