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Building on the analysis of a type of local public policy fostering innovation, i.e. cluster policy, this article aims to contribute to the literature on territorial governance. Rarely studied in political science, this type of policy is analysed here using the policy-feedbacks approach in order to ascertain its effects on local politics. The theoretical framework used aims to combine analysis of vertical coordination logics linked to the recomposition of centre-local relations (examined through from the French policy of “pôles de compétitivité”) and by studying the horizontal coordination logics linked to the strengthening of urban governance (studied here in the Parisian context). Specifically, by retracing the history of a Parisian cluster (Cap Digital), from its genesis then over a period of ten years, the article analyses the implementation of the “pôles de compétitivité” policy and the effects it may have had in terms of legitimizing certain social groups and reorientating local public policy. The research results are twofold: firstly, it identifies the material and cognitive mechanisms through which the competitive rules of a national policy have been translated locally; secondly, it shows these mechanisms have contributed to the politico-economic differentiation of the Parisian territory. Territorial governance of innovation is used as a concept to synthesize these two results.

  • local governance
  • central-local relationships
  • cluster policies
  • competitiveness
  • innovation
  • legitimation
  • Paris
  • policy feedbacks
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