Silicon alleys, hills, peaks, beaches, savannahs, islands, lagoons and gulfs have mushroomed across cities of all continents, in the hope of fuelling profitable, innovative startup hubs. These Silicon-Valley replicas deploy economic theories, managerial fads, success stories and best practices that are metonymically linked to Northern California, but they also draw upon local arrangements of heterogeneous constituents: policy experts, entrepreneurs, reports, IT infrastructures, universities, coworking spaces, networking protocols and so forth. The making of one such ecosystem, Cape Town’s so-called ‘silicon cape’, is the topic of this article, which, however, does not try to uncover the specific economic and geographic factors of tech clustering. Rather, it addresses some of the narrative discourses that have framed Cape Town as the entrepreneurial capital of South Africa and Africa at large. It shows how these narrative praxes are both reflexive and ontological: they at once work as metatheories of entrepreneurial innovation in an African city and lay the groundwork for its very possibility. Via an ethnographic engagement of these textual discourses in the making, this article charts the uneasy relationship between technocapitalism and economic development in a city scarred by its colonial past and its racialised inequalities. In doing so, it shows how the discursive making of the silicon cape of Africa mobilised multiple economic sentiments, weaving together the search for profitable technology-based economies and the demand for social justice in a city of the Global South.

Making the silicon cape of Africa: Tales, theories and the narration of startup urbanism / Pollio, Andrea. - In: URBAN STUDIES. - ISSN 0042-0980. - (2020), p. 004209801988427. [10.1177/0042098019884275]

Making the silicon cape of Africa: Tales, theories and the narration of startup urbanism

Pollio, Andrea
2020

Abstract

Silicon alleys, hills, peaks, beaches, savannahs, islands, lagoons and gulfs have mushroomed across cities of all continents, in the hope of fuelling profitable, innovative startup hubs. These Silicon-Valley replicas deploy economic theories, managerial fads, success stories and best practices that are metonymically linked to Northern California, but they also draw upon local arrangements of heterogeneous constituents: policy experts, entrepreneurs, reports, IT infrastructures, universities, coworking spaces, networking protocols and so forth. The making of one such ecosystem, Cape Town’s so-called ‘silicon cape’, is the topic of this article, which, however, does not try to uncover the specific economic and geographic factors of tech clustering. Rather, it addresses some of the narrative discourses that have framed Cape Town as the entrepreneurial capital of South Africa and Africa at large. It shows how these narrative praxes are both reflexive and ontological: they at once work as metatheories of entrepreneurial innovation in an African city and lay the groundwork for its very possibility. Via an ethnographic engagement of these textual discourses in the making, this article charts the uneasy relationship between technocapitalism and economic development in a city scarred by its colonial past and its racialised inequalities. In doing so, it shows how the discursive making of the silicon cape of Africa mobilised multiple economic sentiments, weaving together the search for profitable technology-based economies and the demand for social justice in a city of the Global South.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11583/2781035