Handbook on the Geographies of Globalization
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Handbook on the Geographies of Globalization

Edited by Robert C. Kloosterman, Virginie Mamadouh and Pieter Terhorst

Processes of globalization have changed the world in many, often fundamental, ways. Increasingly these processes are being debated and contested. This Handbook offers a timely, rich as well as critical panorama of these multifaceted processes with up-to-date chapters by renowned specialists from many countries. It comprises chapters on the historical background of globalization, different geographical perspectives (including world systems analysis and geopolitics), the geographies of flows (of people, goods and services, and capital), and the geographies of places (including global cities, clusters, port cities and the impact of climate change).
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Chapter 7: An economic-geographic perspective on globalization

Robert C. Kloosterman and Pieter Terhorst

Abstract

In this chapter we assess the specific contribution of economic geographers to the debates on the economic dimension of globalization. We present key characteristics of geographical thinking on globalization and emphasize how this is deeply anchored in a particular understanding of social reality which stresses both a rich ontology (of places and actors) and the role of a wide variety of social structures (from capitalism to ethnic solidarity) in determining drivers and outcomes of concrete economic processes. This ontological viewpoint is very much intertwined with a pluralistic epistemological position allowing drawing theoretical notions from a wide set of (sub)disciplines and an openness towards methodologies (which encompass quantitative as well as qualitative methods). These scientific-philosophical underpinnings distinguish economic-geography approaches to globalization from those in mainstream economics. We will illustrate this by looking at how economic geographers have dealt with the relationship between globalization and, respectively, the institutional set-up of the nation state and the role of regions and their cross-border linkages. We show that a rich understanding of both places and actors is essential to get to grips with concrete processes of globalization.

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