Spaces of Globalization

Reasserting the Power of the Local

Edited by Kevin R. Cox

March 29, 1997
ISBN 9781572301993
Price: $39.00
292 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"

Arguments about the globalization of economic relations have become commonplace; part of the everyday diet of social science and public affairs alike. Citing the growth of multinational and transnational corporations, and the enhanced mobility of goods, services and money, proponents of the globalization hypothesis claim that capital now creates new forms of competition beyond the reach of state agencies and nationally organized forms of worker representation. Defined in this manner, globalization becomes a threat to the welfare state, to policies of full employment, and to national living standards. Taking a radically different tack, this timely and far-reaching volume reexamines the underlying assumptions of globalization arguments from a critical perspective. Alongside globalization, authors show, there persist tendencies towards the territorialization and re-territorialization of economic life, as well as the development of new organizing strategies by labor. Probing the complex relationship between the global and the local and investigating the changing dynamics of contemporary firms, labor, capital, and communities, the book also addresses the broader question of the difference that space makes in understanding society.

“...This book...does, very effectively I believe, begin to challenge some of the myths, generalizations and simplifications associated with globalization theory, and to assert the power and the analytical importance of understanding the local....This is an excellent and welcome text, measured both in terms of the quality and authority of the contributions, as well as offering an intellectual breath of fresh air to the globalization thesis swamp.”

—Peter M. Ward, Planning Forum, 1997

“This fine book tackles the myth of globalization head on, joining a handful of recent works that put in question many widely held assertions about the economics and politics of the new global economy. Editor Kevin Cox has assembled a strong, coherent set of essays by some of the finest minds in contemporary economic geography, whose voices carry far beyond the boundaries of the discipline. Global capitalism has not one but many geographies, none of which have been erased by the rising tides of international finance and neo-liberalism. But tectonic shifts have been reassembling what was once solid ground for workers and businesses, leaving many at sea. The insights of this book are like life-rafts against the intellectual and moral drift of glibly global politicians, opinion makers, and news commentators. This should be required reading for every newspaper essayist from The Economist to the Wall Street Journal who ventures hasty opinions on the global economy, as well as standard fare in economics departments and business schools.”

—Richard A. Walker, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Geography, University of California, Berkeley

“These broad-ranging and innovative essays explore the myths and realities hidden beneath the much-hyped idea of 'globalization'. In a major contribution to critical human geography and radical political economy, the authors put 'space' in its 'place'. Drawing on detailed conceptual critiques, historical and comparative analyses, and fine-grained case-studies, they consider where, when, and why economic flows are still closely bound up with territory, scale, and place. In breaking with conventional conceptual dichotomies and paradigms, the authors shows the real variety, complexity, and interdependence of flow economies and territorial economies and explores how these are socially constituted and regularized. A further valuable aspect of several essays is their critical engagement with the 'politics of place' and its implications for radical politics.”

—Bob Jessop, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, Lancaster University, UK

“We are inundated with fearsome talk about an uncontrolled and uncontrollable global economy in which capital and goods spin about the world, detached from territory, and therefore from the regulatory powers of the territorial nation state. This excellent collection brings sanity to the globalization talk. It shows that tendencies toward localization, or territorial dependence, have developed alongside increased international economic mobility. It thus illuminates the complexities of the current transition, including the complex interplay between economic and political developments which needs to be understood if we are to gain leverage for the political direction of market developments.”

—Frances Fox Piven, coauthor of Why Americans Don't Vote

Table of Contents

Introduction: Globalization and its Politics in Question, Kevin R. Cox

1. Territories, Flows, and Hierarchies in the Global Economy, Michael Storper

2. Between the Global and the Local: The Spatial Limits to Productive Capital, Meric S. Gertler

3. Strategic Localization: The Myth of the Postnational Enterprise, Andrew Mair

4. The Informational Content of Financial Products and the Spatial Structure of the Global Finance Industry, Gordon L. Clark and Kevin O'Connor

5. Globalization and the Politics of Distribution: A Critical Assessment, Kevin R. Cox

6. Neither Global nor Local: "Glocalization" and the Politics of Scale, Erik Swyngedouw

7. Labor as an Agent of Globalization and as a Global Agent, Andrew Herod

8. Social Democracy and External Constraints, Ton Notermans

9. Representation Unbound: Globalization and Democracy, Murray Low

About the Editor

Kevin R. Cox is Professor of Geography at The Ohio State University. His major interests are in the politics of local economic development and in social theory and geography. His books include Conflict, Power and Politics in the City and Location and Public Problems.


Researchers, educators, and advanced students of geography, sociology, economics, and political science.

Serves as supplementary reading for courses in economic geography, economic sociology, regional economics, political economy, and global uneven development.

Course Use

The strength of the case study material makes it an ideal companion text in courses in industrial geography and international political economy.