Performing ambiguous policy : How innovation events simultaneously perform change and collaborative order
Erika Andersson Cederholm
Summary, in English
The aim of this article is to analyse how innovation policy is staged and legitimised through the dramatised social process of an event. The context is taken from an annual event, Skåne Innovation Week, which is arranged by the regional innovation system in Skåne, Sweden. Innovation systems often organise similar events internationally, which appear to play a key role in performing inter-organisational collaboration between actors from the public sector, industry and research, as well as manifesting belief in the globalised imaginaries of innovation systems. Through the analytical lens of the event as a social drama, the article examines how the event – and thus, innovation policy – is represented in commemorative films and website documents through which three meeting practices are identified: mingling and hanging out, scripted meeting models and spatial staging. The article argues that these meeting practices and their performed interactive social forms sustain the vagueness and ambiguity inherent in innovation policy, particularly between stability and change. The event can be viewed as a form of performative government that maintains a political order while simultaneously hailing its practices as transformative.