, Volume 74, Issue 6, pp 525-540
Date: 13 Jan 2009

Grassroots “flexible specialisation” in Brisbane’s West End: towards a politics of economic possibility

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Abstract

The focus on ‘flexible specialisation’ in the 1980s and 1990s marked an important turning point in framings of economic agency and diversity within economic geography. This article deconstructs the ways in which subjects were framed as ‘flexible’ in both the flexible specialisation literature and later work on the Diverse Economy (Gibson-Graham 1996, 2002, 2006), seeking out particular examples of the ways in which different projects of subjection appear to frame different views of economic possibility. Drawing richly on a case study of residents in an inner-city neighbourhood of West End, Brisbane (Australia), this paper uses resident’s articulations of their everyday practices to reinvigorate some of the ideas of the flexible specialisation literature and challenge, defamiliarise and rework existing ideas of economic life in “First World”, urban contexts.