Cities in the Era of Globalization: Positioning Global Cities in International Political Economy

AuthorOindrila Dattagupta
DOI10.1177/0973598417732602
Date01 December 2017
Publication Date01 December 2017
SubjectArticles
1 Doctoral Candidate, Centre for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament
(CIPOD), School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.
Corresponding author:
Oindrila Dattagupta, Doctoral Candidate, Centre for International Politics, Organization
and Disarmament (CIPOD), School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University,
New Delhi 110067, India.
E-mail: ondgupta@gmail.com
Cities in the Era
of Globalization:
Positioning Global
Cities in International
Political Economy
Oindrila Dattagupta1
Abstract
Cities are the dynamic analytical entities of research that involve inter-
actions of economic, social, political, and cultural arenas, associating
themselves with the process of industrialization, globalization, techno-
logical advancements, and financial revolution. Conceptually, the global
cities are the pivotal points of production, manufacturing, connecting
three levels of international relations: local, national, and global,
providing a broader lens to view the international politics. Emphasis
on global cities challenges the statist domination of the international
relations framework, thus making the discipline multiscalar (regional,
national, and global). The article aims to analyze the role of cities in
accelerating capital flows, attracting labor and technological upgradation
calling for flexible adjustments in the national government policies
in the era of globalization. It will delve into the conceptualization
of global cities, strategic role they play in national and international
economy, and how critical and significant they are for the flourishing
of global capitalism. The core research puzzle is to identify the rise of
Article
Jadavpur Journal of
International Relations
21(2) 118–137
2017 Jadavpur University
SAGE Publications
sagepub.in/home.nav
DOI: 10.1177/0973598417732602
http://jnr.sagepub.com
Dattagupta 119
cities in international political economy and the examination of power,
dominance, and the transformation of cities vis-à-vis the changing role
of the states.
Keywords
Globalization, economy, global city, state, decentralization, international
economy, power
Introduction
A city is the fortress of the economic, political, and human capital, and it
has been both the object and a subject of study spread across different
disciplines providing the scholars a magical area of research involving
the interactions of economic, social, political, and cultural arenas. As the
world moves from the closed economy to the open economy, agricultural
sector to the manufacturing sector, the rise of cities becomes inevitable
and as mentioned ‘cities, not countries, are the constituent elements of a
developing economy and have been so from the dawn of civilisation’
(Jacobs 1984: 32). Cities have undergone several transformations through
the pages of history and thereby associate themselves with innovation,
ideas, knowledge, investment, cluster of intellect, and connectivity.
As sustainers of population, and the container of culture, knowledge, and
innovation, cities have carved out a space for themselves in the state-
dominated international relations where one can study the process of
industrialization, globalization, technological advancements, and finan-
cial revolution. With globalization, the traditional hierarchy of city and
state relations also needs to be reconstructed. Cities cannot be simply
understood in terms of business and financial centers but also from
different cultural settings where these firms and transnational activities
flourish. In the contemporary times, urbanization is rapidly taking shape
in the developing countries adding a new fervor of analysis.
Cities occupy a crucial place in the realm of study since they are the
center of specialization in economic activity and development of a
social structure, which is again the product of economic specialization,
spatial organization, and division of labor with the capitalist develop-
ments (Glaser et al. 1991; Sassen 2001). Historically, cities have been
the focal points of production and exchange of goods and services which
took place between the nation-states. With the financialization and

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