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A cultural political economy of transnational knowledge brands

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This paper adopts a “cultural political economy” (CPE) approach to examine the production of hegemony and related hegemonic struggles during the socio-spatial changes occurring in the Pearl River Delta. Drawing from the case of Hong Kong/Pearl River Delta, economic restructuring has given rise to the “hollowing out” debate. In face of this debate, two knowledge brands, the Harvard-Porter’s “competitive advantage” (1985) and MIT-Berger-Lester’s “industrial performance” models, have been stabilized as competing modes of developmentality (development governmentality) and have operated as paper-based economic panopticons to order/manage, at a distance, the organization of Hong Kong’s/Pearl River Delta’s space, policy, and, ultimately, the conduct of its population. These modes of developmentalities have met resistance from other forces in other spaces and with other interests, including from below. Nonetheless the two main power blocs are engaging in inter-bloc negotiations in the light of such resistance and are creating a hybrid strategy under the dominance of the service bloc.
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Keywords: Hongkong/Pearl River Delta; competitiveness; cultural political economy; knowledge brand; recontextualization

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 7, 2010

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