This project aims at improving the analysis of socio-economic development paths and models leading to the Knowledge Society. To this purpose, a new methodology is to be designed and applied to case-studies in a variety of industrialised countries, regions and cities. The methodology will be comparative, historical and multi-dimensional. This last property in particular means that the new approach will look at the various dimensions of socio-economic development (capital accumulation, state regulation, socio-cultural dynamics, relationships among state and civil society and state and market, strategies for growth, development and social cohesion) over inter-connected spatial scales (local, regional, national and international level)
The development of the new methodology and its detailed application to case-studies of socio-economic development is to be effectuated in 5 steps:
- Reflection on the multi-dimensional character of socio-economic development and its analysis;
- Survey of the theories of socio-economic development in all social science disciplines over the last 150 years;
- Revalorising the results of the theoretical surveys by use of the 'institutionalism' debates in social science today: 'Socio-economic development as an institutional process';
- Design of an empirical methodology to study socio-economic development as an ensemble of processes in which institutional dynamics play a decisive role;
- Application of the methodology to case-studies in several countries, regions and cities in the Industrial Society, i.e. the development model preceding the Knowledge Society; and the development of a provisional typology of development models at articulated spatial scales.
To disseminate the methodology and generate demonstration effects, a scientific conference and local workshops for various user groups (researchers, observatories of socio-economic developments in the private and public sector) will be organized at the end of the project.