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 6: The Interlocking Network Model

Peter J. Taylor


Peter J. Taylor INTRODUCTION: THE NEED FOR SPECIFICATION If you have a research interest that covers cities in globalization you have to decide how this new scale of inter-city relations is organized. At first glance this appears to be a fairly simple question to answer: you just go to the literature and see what the experts think. But this exercise actually complicates the situation: as in any new area of research, the conceptualization of the subject is not necessarily agreed. And this is certainly the case for the literature on cities in globalization. In Table 6.1 50 such conceptualizations are listed alphabetically (Taylor and Lang, 2004) and we can see that there is no agreement on how the scale is represented, how the entities are represented and how the relations are represented. Thus although the most common adjective for scale is ‘global’, ‘world’ and ‘international’ are popular as well, with references also to ‘transnational’, ‘crossborder’ and ‘planetary’. For the entities themselves, as well as ‘city’ and ‘urban’ there are references to ‘metropolitan’, ‘nodes’, ‘lynchpins’ and ‘strategic places’. And the relations are equally variable: the three main relations are ‘system’, ‘hierarchy’ and ‘network’, with additional references to ‘grid’, ‘web’, ‘archipelago’, ‘chain’ and ‘matrices’. Wow, we appear to be overwhelmed by choice. Choice is not always a good thing. Although Table 6.1 can be interpreted as reflecting exceptional riches in ingenuity for describing cities in globalization, I prefer to consider it as indicating a basic confusion in how to conceptualize contemporary relations...

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