Practicing New Economic Geographies: A Methodological Examination

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Practicing new economic geographies necessarily entails a critical re-evaluation of research methodologies because of its different substantive research foci. In this article, I examine some methodological implications of the recent refiguring of the “economic” in economic geography. Some key features of new economic geographies include understanding the social embeddedness of economic action, mapping shifting identities of social actors, and exploring the role of material and discursive contexts in shaping economic behavior. I argue that practitioners of new economic geographies can no longer rely exclusively on established “scientific” methodology for empirical research and data analysis. Instead, I argue for a process-based methodological framework through which we employ complementary methodological practices (e.g., tracing actor networks and in situ research) and triangulation, not only to explore the microfoundations of economic action, but also to generate, in a reflexive manner, theoretical insights from the multiscalar dimensions of economic action.
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