The project advisory group recently reviewed Economies of Identity: State of the Art, published in 2018 by Inês Gusman, which looks at the work of several eminent academics writing in the field. Although a difficult concept to define and understand, Gusman argues that ‘economy of identity’ is now fundamental to a region’s ability to gain competitive advantage.
Globalisation has meant that territories are changing and can no longer so easily be defined as distinct and diverse political, economic, social and geographical systems, but rather are more fluid and nebulous. Economy of identity is an attempt to understand how territories materialise in this new world of inter-connectivity which has given rise to new economic and social relations, increasingly disembodied from geographical territory.
Despite growing globalisation, territorial diversity and difference remains important – perhaps even more so. Certainly, modern capitalist western economies are harnessing history, culture, heritage and collective memory, as a means of responding to the increasingly globalised mass market and gain a competitive edge.
Nurturing these attributes also promotes a strong regional identity, perhaps even fulfilling an inherent need amongst us for security, for longer lasting values, moored and rooted with a strong sense of belonging to a community, in a rapidly shifting world.
As a result, economy of identity has become part of a regional policy makers’ strategy for attracting people, investment and resources, to achieve economic dynamism.
Harnessing identity economics could play well in a Carmarthenshire context. Buffeted, to some degree, from the extreme forces of globalisation, Carmarthenshire retains many of the characteristics that make up a strong economy of identity, such as a rich history, culture and language, unique experience offerings, a growing identity for food, arts and crafts.
To view the full feasibility assessment and accompanying reports see below: