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Title: World city network research at a theoretical impasse: On the need to re-establish qualitative approaches to understanding agency in world city networks
Authors: Watson, Allan
Beaverstock, Jonathan V.
Keywords: World city networks
Inter-locking network
Qualitative methods
Relational economic geography
Agency
Practice
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: © 2014 Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG. Published by Wiley
Citation: WATSON, A. and BEAVERSTOCK, J.V., 2014. World city network research at a theoretical impasse: On the need to re-establish qualitative approaches to understanding agency in world city networks. Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie, 105(4), pp. 412-426.
Abstract: From the late 1990s, the establishment of a new relational ‘turn’ in the study of world city connectedness in globalization has run parallel to the wider relational turn occurring in economic geography. Early work, built firmly upon a qualitative approach to the collection and analyses of new inter-city datasets, considered cities as being constituted by their relations with other cities. Subsequent research, however, would take a strong quantitative turn, best demonstrated through the articulation of the inter-locking world city network (ILWCN) ‘model’ for measuring relations between cities. In this paper, we develop a critique of research based around the ILWCN model, arguing that this ‘top down’ quantitative approach has now reached a theoretical impasse. To address this impasse, we argue for a move away from Structural approaches in which the firm is the main unit of analysis, towards qualitative approaches in which individual agency and practice are afforded greater importance.
Description: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: WATSON, A. and BEAVERSTOCK, J.V., 2014. World city network research at a theoretical impasse: On the need to re-establish qualitative approaches to understanding agency in world city networks. Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie, 105(4), pp. 412-426., which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tesg.12098. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1111/tesg.12098
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/21406
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tesg.12098
ISSN: 0040-747X
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Geography)

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