MSc Maria Merisalo is going to defend her PhD thesis on the 11th June 2016 at noon in the Auditorium XV of the main building of the University of Helsinki. Her dissertation title is “Electronic Capital. Economic and Social Geographies of Digitalization”. The thesis is published as the Department Series title A43. Professor Jouni Häkli from the University of Tampere will be the opponent.
The Annual Meeting of American Association of Geographers (29.3–2.4) was organized in San Francisco. The meeting provided possibilities to meet over 4000 presentations and 8000 participants. The research group participated several research sessions and organized a session “Geographies of Innovation, Technology and Economy in the Global North and South” in cooperation with a group of economic and communication geographers. The session gained a great attendance and active discussion.
The most important event in the field of economic geography was the “Roepke lecture in economic geography” given by Amy Glasmeier.
Tommi Inkinen and Maria Merisalo from the research group participated the “Fourth Global Conference on Economic Geography 2015” that was organized on 18. – 23. August in Oxford, England.
Tommi presented the research (made in cooperation with Heli Ponto) on funding organizations in innovation systems. Empirically, the study focuses on the case of Finland (national context) and particularly Helsinki Metropolitan Area (regional context). Based on the data: 1) the physical location of a knowledge intensive cluster was not a significant factor in the funding decisions but the importance of local, national and international networks and co-operation was underlined; 2) the digitalization and the “internet of things” is seen as the major development potential in creating knowledge spaces; and 3) cities have a salient role in providing environments for research and entrepreneurship. The interviewed also considered that there are underused resources in the usage of open data which could help innovation and research cores to evolve.
Maria presented the article (made in cooperation with Teemu Makkonen) considering the relation of digitalization and capital conversion in the realm of Bourdieusian neo-capital theory. The article applies the concept of e-capital that refers to the added value gained from the digitalization. The added value of digitalization (e-capital) emerges from individuals, organizations and societies possibilities, capabilities and willingness to utlize digitalization. This process is reliant on human, social and cultural forms of capital rather than only economic and physical forms of capital.
The papers presented in the conference are in review in scientific journals and further informing follows the publication process.