Call for Papers: 'GaWC's Interlocking Network Model - Foundations, Applications, and Critiques'

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2012 Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting
New York, USA
24-28 February 2012

GaWC's Interlocking Network Model - Foundations, Applications, and Critiques

Ben Derudder, Ghent University

The objective of this CFP is to develop a timely overview of (i) the main applications of and (ii) the critiques raised against the ‘interlocking network model' (INM) for studying world city networks (WCNs). The INM for studying WCNs has been devised in the context of the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) research network. GaWC is a non-institutionalized, collaborative venture between researchers in different parts of the world. GaWC's main gateway is its website (, where everyone is welcome to share ideas, publications and data on WCNs, and this without favoring particular metatheoretical readings, geographical foci, or conceptual and empirical approaches.

GaWC's raison d'être lies in the analysis of the transnational, external relations of cities, and a key contribution has thus been the formal analysis of WCNs through this INM. In the initial specification in Taylor (2001), it was put forward that globalized producer services firms are the key network makers in the WCN in that these firms ‘interlock' cities through their transnational, city-centered location strategies. Since the Taylor (2001) publication, GaWC's INM for studying WCNs has been widely used and debated, e.g.:

  • The INM has been used as starting point for empirical analyses of the WCN by applying it to data on the location strategies of a selection of ‘global' producer services firms (e.g. Taylor et al., 2002; Derudder and Taylor, 2005; Taylor et al., 2011).
  • At the same time, this recurring focus on ‘global' producer services firms for studying WCNs has been criticized on numerous grounds, including alleged structuralist tendencies, potential normative implications, and ‘Western-centeredness' (e.g. Robinson, 2002; Massey, 2007; Bassens et al., 2011).
  • The INM's network-analytical foundations have been scrutinized (e.g. Nordlund, 2004; Lambregts, 2008; Neal, 2011).
  • The INM's conceptual underpinnings have been further contextualized, detailed and refined (e.g. Beaverstock et al., 2002; Taylor, 2007; Derudder, 2006)
  • The INM has been applied at other scales, especially in the context of the analysis of polycentric city-regions (e.g. Pain, 2008; Hoyler et al., 2008; Lüthi et al., 2011)
  • Other WCN agents have been analyzed through the lens of the INM, including NGO's, media firms, and Islamic financial services firms (e.g. Taylor, 2004; Watson & Hoyler, 2011; Bassens et al., 2010)

The purpose of this CFP is to bring together researchers that make use of and/or critically engage with GaWC's interlocking network model for studying WCNs. Based on the ensuing overview of uses and critiques, it also seeks to develop a round-up of the merits/drawbacks of the model as well as outline some avenues for future research.

Interested participants should send a title and an abstract of about 250 words to Ben Derudder ( by September 15th at the latest. Note that contributors will have to register for the conference and submit their abstract the regular way (i.e. through the AAG website:, after which they need send the registration code (PIN) they receive.


Bassens, D., Derudder, B. & Witlox, F. (2010) Searching for the Mecca of finance: Islamic financial services and the world city network. AREA, 42(1), 35-46.

Bassens, D., Derudder, B. & Witlox, F. (2011) Setting ‘other' standards: on the role, power and spatialities of interlocking Shari'a boards in Islamic financial services. Geoforum, 42, 94-103.

Beaverstock, J.V., Doel, M.A., Hubbard, P.J. & Taylor, P.J. (2002) Attending to the World: Competition/Co-operation and Co-efficiency in the World City Network. Global Networks, 2 (2), 111-132.

Derudder, B. (2006) On Conceptual Confusion in Empirical Analyses of a Transnational Urban Network. Urban Studies, 43 (11), 2027-2046.

Derudder, B. & Taylor, P.J. (2005)The Cliquishness of World Cities. Global Networks, 5 (1), (2005), 71-91.

Hoyler, M., Freytag, T. & Mager, C. (2008) Connecting Rhine-Main: The Production of Multi-Scalar Polycentricities through Knowledge-Intensive Business Services Regional Studies, 42 (8), 1095-1111.

Lambregts, B. (2008) Geographies of knowledge formation in mega-city regions: Some evidence from the Dutch Randstad. Regional Studies, 42(8), pp. 1173-1186.

Lüthi, S., Thierstein, A. & Bentlage, M. (2011) Interlocking Firm Networks in the German Knowledge Economy: on Local Networks and Global Connectivity. Raumforschung und Raumordnung, 69(3), 161-174.

Massey, D. (2007) World City. Polity Press: London.

Neal, Z. (2011) Structural Determinism in the Interlocking World City Network . Geographical Analysis, forthcoming.

Nordlund, C. (2004) A Critical Comment on the Taylor Approach for Measuring World City Interlock Linkages. Geographical Analysis, 36(3), 290–296.

Pain, K. (2008) Examining 'Core-Periphery' Relationships in a Global City-Region: The Case of London and South East England. Regional Studies, 42(8), 1161-1172.

Robinson, J. (2002) Global and world cities: A view from off the map. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 26(3), 531-554.

Taylor, P.J. (2001) Specification of the World City Network. Geographical Analysis, 33 (2), 181-194.

Taylor, P.J. (2004) The New Geography of Global Civil Society: NGOs in the World City Network. Globalizations, 1(2), 265-277.

Taylor, P.J. (2007) Problematizing City/State Relations: Towards a Geohistorical Understanding of Contemporary Globalization . Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 32(2), 133-150.

Taylor, P.J., Catalano, G. & Walker, D.R.F. (2002) Exploratory Analysis of the World City Network. Urban Studies, 39(13), 2377-2394.

Taylor, P. Ni, P., Derudder, B., Hoyler, M. & Huang J. & Witlox, F. (eds.) (2011) Global Urban Analysis: A Survey of Cities in Globalization. London: Earthscan.

Watson, A. & Hoyler, M. (2011) Global Media Cities in Transnational Media Networks. GaWC research Bulletin 358.