Silicon Utopias: The making of a tech startup ecosystem in Manchester (UK)


‘Silicon utopias’, the hope for a green, affluent and happy future through the creation of new tech-businesses, are today informing many urban development processes globally. In this contribution, I look at the recent remodeling of Manchester (Northern England) as an entrepreneurial city. In particular, I present a specific government investment scheme and its relation to the work of a group of local lobbyists who have been promoting a new tech startup community in the city since 2012. Stemming from this empirical example, I explore the interplay between local entrepreneurial dreams and the state’s promotion of startups. The paper concludes with the argument that an anthropologically informed concept of cynicism can contribute to a nuanced reading of silicon utopias and dystopias.

Research reports
Jun 26, 2017