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Building a Geographical Political Economy of Closure: The Case of R&DCo in North East England

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ParentCompany's decision to close R&DCo in North East England caused the loss of highly skilled scientific and technical jobs. R&DCo was a “white‐collar” R&D operation and supplier of services to ParentCompany's lead factories in the East Midlands and South West regions. The economic and social costs of closure were acute for the North East with its relatively weak growth, high unemployment and limited R&D activity. This paper argues that a clearer understanding and progressive response to such closures may benefit from a conceptualisation founded upon spatialised social relations and characterised by a social process of production that unfolds over time, across space and in place. Periodised in episodic socio‐spatial “moments”, a historically evolving social process of closure reveals differential potential—contingent upon specific conjunctures of structural forces, social agency and the particularities of places—to enable and/or inhibit intervention through public policy and institutional action and political mobilisation and resistance.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), University of Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK;, Email:

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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