Call for Papers: 'Global City Makers: Actors and Practices in the World City Network'

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RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2014
26-29 August 2014


Session convenors: Michael Hoyler (Loughborough University), Christof Parnreiter (University of Hamburg) and Allan Watson (Staffordshire University)

Format: Paper session(s); five 15 minute presentations each with 5 minutes for questions

Since the development of the interlocking network model to conceptualise the structure and dynamics of the world city network (Taylor 2001), the global city debate has seen a strong emphasis on quantitative empirical research. This work has considerably deepened our knowledge of transnational relational firm and city networks. However, a number of limitations of this methodological approach have also been pointed out, leading some researchers to identify a ‘theoretical impasse' in recent global city research (Beaverstock 2011). Others have suggested that increasingly sophisticated quantitative analyses of the structure and dynamics of the world city network contribute little to elucidate the management and coordination functions central to Sassen's (1991) analysis of global cities (Parnreiter 2012).

Responding to these critiques, we invite contributions that focus on economic actors and their practices in the formation of global cities and the world city network. We welcome papers that follow a conceptualisation of global cities as places from where the world economy is managed and controlled through the practices of advanced producer service firms. We particularly invite papers that employ a case study approach to ‘global city makers' as well as papers that develop new theoretical or methodological foundations for agency-focused global city research. Potential topics include:

  • the making of global locational strategies in advanced producer service firms and other global ‘network makers';
  • the involvement of advanced producer service firms in the management and governance of global commodity chains;
  • the role of advanced producer service firms in the financialisation of corporations;
  • the management of knowledge flows in global firm networks;
  • the changing relationship between the state, supranational institutions and global city makers;
  • practice and performativity in the making of global economic networks;
  • the potential role of other service firms in the management and governance of the world economy (e.g. logistics, media);
  • and methodological advances in global city research such as qualitative network analysis.

We aim to attract contributions that engage critically and constructively with current global city research from an economic geography perspective, and which suggest innovative avenues for its theoretical, methodological and empirical development.

Please send abstracts (250 words maximum) to Michael Hoyler (, Christof Parnreiter ( and Allan Watson ( by Friday, 14th February 2014.