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This article considers the metaphors we use when studying what geographers have come to call policy mobility. Specifically, it argues that a metaphor developed by Mol and Law (1994) of fluid space offers something different to metaphors that are currently being used in the area, including diffusion, transfer and network. In particular, the metaphor of fluid space describes a distributed and highly differentiated space of policy mobility and circulation that remains connected and robust despite the lack of a strong centre. This is illustrated through a discussion of the global spread of policies that claim to act on or through some aspect of human creativity, such as the creative industries, the creative class, the creative city and so on. The article concludes that this metaphor helps us to explain why some policy types are able to move to so many places while avoiding the tendency to link this movement to a universal critique.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University, Private Bag 11 222, Palmerston North, New Zealand,

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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