S6 - European territories within the ‘Global Production Network’: between integration and disparities

Organisation: FINANCE Olivier / ZDANOWSKA Natalia

Key-words: Economic networks, Transnational companies’ networks, Economic integration, Micro-level databases

Integration into various types of networks is regularly suggested by economists and geographers as a potential factor of development for territories – particularly economic networks. Position of regions or cities is substantially crucial within the ‘Global Production Network’ defined as: “a conceptual framework that is capable of grasping the global, regional and local economic and social dimensions of the processes involved in many forms of economic globalization […] and an explicit attempt to break with state-centric conceptualizations” (Henderson et al., 2002, p. 445).

In a context of contemporary global economy, where transnational corporations are amongst the major players in connecting and “networking” territories, the integration of territories into global networks remains poorly documented and understood, except at an international level, at most for some metropolises (Taylor, 2003). Yet, “capital is global, work is local” (Beck, 1999): regions, metropolises as well as other cities into urban systems, are much more relevant levels of observation than nations to question integration disparities. The crucial role of cities in the context of globalisation, especially the major economic decision functions of metropolises within these networks cannot be properly considered by working at the level of nations (Thisse, 2008).

The aim of this session is to analyse European cities and regions’ integration into global economic networks and to put into perspective hierarchical structures and regional disparities in the last decade. Which European territories are the most attractive for international firms? How does the ‘Global Production Network’ structure relations between the already most connected European territories? Conversely, what is the impact for the marginalised ones within these extremely competitive networks? Finally, how does this diverse integration impact regional and urban growth in Europe?

This session will focus on transnational companies' networks, although it concentrates interest in all other types of networks involving economic interrelations between European cities and regions, confronted with urban and regional growth. Methodological aspect of measuring integration will be discussed involving different databases with the aim to understand the strategies of location of economic players in European cities and regions. This special session will be an opportunity to discuss possible contributions and exchanges between disciplines, first and foremost Geography and Economics.