International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities
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International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities

Edited by Ben Derudder, Michael Hoyler, Peter J. Taylor and Frank Witlox

This Handbook offers an unrivalled overview of current research into how globalization is affecting the external relations and internal structures of major cities in the world.
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Chapter 5: Political Global Cities

Herman van der Wusten


Herman van der Wusten INTRODUCTION Seen from space, cities on the dark side of the globe light up and radiate. In dreary places on Earth city lights have long attracted people to try their luck. Cities radiate in different ways at different ranges. In this chapter I concentrate on cities that radiate politically and at global range: political global cities. It is not the cities themselves that radiate on the satellite images but the concentrated set of bulbs within each city; not necessarily the city as a whole that attracts the aspiring traveller but the opportunities for making a living and for having fun. The external political effects of political global cities result from politically relevant actors and politically meaningful institutions and material establishments present in those cities. In what follows I explore a smallish literature on political global cities that has developed alongside those aspects of global cities that have drawn most attention during the last decades like corporate headquarters and positions in the global networks of advanced producer services. I first deal with some conceptual issues: the distinction between ‘world’ and ‘global’ as indications of range (section 2), and then the various approaches to political global cities that result in a definition (section 3). After an interlude on the relation of these political global cities and the kinds of global cities mostly covered in the current literature (GaWC) (section 4), I concentrate on the ways in which the political global cities fit in with an emerging but still...

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