Wilde, Kerstin, & Frans Hermans (2021, March). Deconstructing the attractiveness of biocluster imaginaries. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning. (ePub in advance of print) (doi: 10.1080/1523908X.2021.1891872) (Link: https://doi.org/10.1080/1523908X.2021.1891872) (Open Access: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1523908X.2021.1891872)

Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the promises that are employed within and around clusters that were formed in the evolving bioeconomy: bioclusters for short. Our paper aims to provide a conceptual clarification of the biocluster concept. To that effect, we employ the prism of sociotechnical imaginaries. We argue that both industrial clusters and the bioeconomy constitute separate, but partly overlapping sociotechnical imaginaries that shape stakeholder attitudes towards bioclusters. We applied a Q-methodology study in two bioeconomy clusters, one in Germany and one in The Netherlands, to investigate the resonance of different imaginaries in the cluster regions. Five distinct narratives, combining specific elements of cluster and bioeconomy imaginaries, are shared by different stakeholder groups. We revealed bioeconomy imaginaries at large to be far more contested than different cluster imaginaries. The latter mobilise overwhelmingly positive associations across diverse stakeholder groups. From this perspective, the popularity of biocluster promotional policies can be explained as they support some of the contested elements of bioeconomy imaginaries in gaining traction.

Kerstin Wilde <wilde@iamo.de> is in the Department of Structural Development of Farms and Rural Areas, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies, Halle (Saale), Germany.