Handbook on Global Value Chains
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Handbook on Global Value Chains

Edited by Stefano Ponte, Gary Gereffi and Gale Raj-Reichert

Global value chains (GVCs) are a key feature of the global economy in the 21st century. They show how international investment and trade create cross-border production networks that link countries, firms and workers around the globe. This Handbook describes how GVCs arise and vary across industries and countries, and how they have evolved over time in response to economic and political forces. With chapters written by leading interdisciplinary scholars, the Handbook unpacks the key concepts of GVC governance and upgrading, and explores policy implications for advanced and developing economies alike.
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Chapter 10: Global value chains and uneven development: a disarticulations perspective

Marion Werner and Jennifer Bair


In this chapter, the authors argue for a shift in the primary focus of global value chain (GVC) analysis from chain incorporation and its consequences for firms and regions, to the problematic of uneven development, that is, the patterned and contingent process whereby capital accumulates to some actors in some places in relation to the subordinate incorporation or exclusion of other actors and places. To do so, they outline what they call a disarticulations perspective. Their approach explores the relationship between strategies of incorporation and continued inclusion in global value chains, and long-standing and emerging forms of territorial and social unevenness in the global economy. Re-reading GVC studies through a disarticulations lens, they argue that global value chains must be viewed as dynamic mechanisms that take their shape from extant patterns of uneven development, while transforming them in turn at multiple scales. The ultimate goal of a disarticulations approach is not only to offer a finer-grained understanding of contemporary patterns of uneven development; it is also to re-centre political questions of winners and losers in the global economy and ask how scholarship on global value chains might address the resulting challenges.

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