Th e industrial district theory has brought to the development economics the opportunity to interpret the economic change through places, where it actually is formed, as a result of the join action of the local and extra-local social, economic and institutional forces. Th is paper sets out to discuss the contribution that the industrial district theory can make to the debate on the spatial dynamics of agri-food systems in the age of globalisation. To this end, the fi rst part of the paper analyses the contribution of the industrial district approach in the relationship between industry and territory; the second part studies the evolution of the concept of the agri-food system and the main determinants of the spatial dynamics in modern agri food systems. Th is paper supports that the industrial district theory can shed a new light on the spatial dynamics of agri-food systems, and can off er an alternative to the mainstream approach. In using the local community as a unit of analysis, the ID theory gives a key role to human agents of production and their knowledge and the agri-food system can be seen as ‘a global network of places’, each place being specialized in a diff erent component of the system.
Created 04.12.12 Updated 04.12.12