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From Jargon to Concepts and Frameworks

(http://faculty.washington.edu/krumme/207/concepts.html)


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At this point of the class, you are supposed to be unhappy about (at least) three points, namely

  1. that we use a lot of (what might appear to be) jargon the meaning of which you do not understand
  2. that we are not specific enough, i.e. that we make reference to concepts which you may feel are too general, and
  3. that you have not yet found the links which hold all these general concepts together.

In general, we want to move from "jargon" to "terms" to "concepts" to "conceptual relations" to "conceptual constructs" (including conceptual relations and theoretical propositions) as quickly as possible. I assume, all of you now have ample access to glossaries (including Goodall!!!) to take care of the "jargon" (i.e. fill it with conceptual meaning). Next, and we started that already, will be the gradual construction of a conceptual frame of reference based on:

We will do that gradually and make sure that we have some time left in class to attach content and specifics to this conceptual skeleton.

In this context, we discuss the 'TSH' ("Three-Sector Hypothesis"; clearly a "theoretical proposition") and suggest two points:

  1. more differentiation is needed, particularly within the tertiary sector (what kind? why?)
  2. that the forces underlying the proposed employment shifts can be divided into

The TSH is only one example for the kinds of structural-compositional changes which we expect or can empirically identify a related to (and part of) economic development. It is suggested that change, development and economic growth are complex and ultimately involve "structural change" (i.e. change in the composition and interrelationships between parts of the whole population or economy). Not all of these structural changes can or always need to be identified. Some of them are more important than others -- either in terms of volume, or in terms of explanatory importance. The TSH represents a first, important but insufficient, attempt to get to these development complexities by identifying regularities and commonalities. Our incomplete discussion of demographic processes (incl. the role of fertility rates, see handout from last Friday) also belongs into this attempt to "decomplexify" development as complex change.

---> You may want to be familiar with the conceptual meaning of the following terms mentioned in class: product cycle; economies of scale; economies of scope; agglomeration economies; terms of trade; Engel's Law; labor productivity; demographic analysis; TSH; GNP; quaternary activity; factor of production; inputs; portability of services; producer service; export services.

---> A "concept" refers to a word or group of words that summarizes or classifies certain facts, events or ideas into one category. Concepts are labels or categories, or selected properties of objects. They are the bricks from which theories are constructed. Theories are constructed by linking concepts representing different attributes or belonging to different classes and by developing sets of interrelated statements concerning the relationship(s) between such concepts.

---> "Conceptual Framework for Economic Geography" is the structure which serves to hold the conceptual parts (concepts) together and within which the ideas, facts, principles, insights and circumstances of Economic Geography exist and are related to each other.

---> Two important attributes of the concept of "structure" are a) relative permanence / stability and b) the existence of internal relations (internal differentiation and/or internal interdependence). Thus, 'Structural Change' refers to relatively long-term / slow/ gradual changes in such internal composition and/or pattern of interdependence.


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