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6 Final Remarks

Literature about innovation processes has paid little attention to the relationships between social and material factors. However the interaction between social and material aspects deserves our attention because it reminds us of the complexity of innovation as a human, organisational and technological process. This complexity, then, is related to the heterogeneity of actors and interests at stake. Throughout the chapter, I discussed the controversial nature of convergence as a basic accomplishment to produce innovative infrastructure. Furthermore, I stressed that bootstrapping can be a promising strategy in order to enable infrastructural growth, generating new related infrastructures. The concepts of bootstrapping and generativity are closely associated with the rationale of large-scale networks that historically are lacking within the ecology of Italian SPs. Conflicting interests and both local and national politics have made the process of convergence particularly frail within the Italian SPs, preventing a seedbed effect.

SPs cannot continue to be mere spaces unable to enact processes of articulation and innovation between tenants and external actors. It is all the more essential that they reinterpret their actual role taking into account the ongoing transformations both at the social and technological levels. Cusinato and Philippopoulos, in the introduction to this book, talk about “the changed epistemologies of collectives”, stressing the increasing need of a pragmatic approach to knowledge. Such an approach is based on the capacity to scale up from local to social, recognising and legitimising the hybrid nature of all parties involved in innovative processes. This is a cultural change that could act as a turning point in the history of Italian SPs. SPs are actors within a larger and unpredictable sociomaterial assembly that need to be further analysed.

 
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