Academic journal article International Journal of Economic Development

Globalization, Migration and Global City Hypothesis

Academic journal article International Journal of Economic Development

Globalization, Migration and Global City Hypothesis

Article excerpt


Outside of population geography, migration as a process driving globalization has remained in the shadows of the literature. Migration has only really been acknowledged by other social scientists tendency in conceptualizing global cities. In this paper, I wish to extent our understanding of globalization and migration by linking together studies of transient professional migration, transnational corporations, and global city financial centers. First, I discuss transient migration as a process in the globalization debate. Second, I review a series of qualitative methods, which have extended our knowledge of globalization and transient professional migration. Third, I illustrate the importance of migration as a globalization tendency, through an analysis of official international migration statistics. Fourth, I respond to general question it has three aims. It redresses lack of focus on the relationship between immigration and the global city hypothesis. It evaluates the global city hypothesis in relation to immigration in primarily Europe's large metropolitan regions. I do this initially by discussing Sassen's thesis, and then follow with an exploration of the subsequent literature that has sprouted from her arguments. I maintain that such a critical analysis of Sassen's ongoing research project and the parallel issues of urban inequality. I call this a "renewal" of the "global city hypothesis."


Globalization is upon us, and we can't escape its unevenness around the world. Geographers, political scientists, sociologists and many others, have been debating the virtues of globalization since the 1990s (e.g. Allen and Hamnett, 1995; Allen and Massey, 1995; Amin and Thrift 1994; Castells, 1996; Cox, 1997; Dicken, 1998; Harvey 1996; Featherstone, 1990; Storper, 1997). For example, Amin and Thrift (1997) point to five globalizing tendencies: (1) globalization of money and financial capital; (2) importance of knowledge-structures as a factor of production; (3) internationalisation of technology; (4) transnational oligopolies; and (5) rise of transnational diplomacy between firms and states.

Work on international and domestic migration, however, has remained almost transparent in globalization tendencies (Lee and Wills, 1997): at both a theoretical and empirical level (but exceptions do include, for example Castles and Miller, 1993; Petras, 1981). We must acknowledge that international migration is a powerful process, and outcome, of the ages of internationalization and globalization, especially when we consider the emotive phenomenon of brain drain. It is widely accepted that brain drain, that is settler migration of professional, scientific, technical and/or post-qualified students, has caused severe leakage of skills and wealth generation, from both developed and developing states, and regional blocks of the world (Cohen, 1996a-b). What remains less identified by nation states and policy strategists in their analyses of brain drain, however, are the flows of temporary, or contracted, professional, scientific and technical migrants, who are not settler migrants, but may move quite often between nation states (Appleyard, 1989). Such professional migrants have been termed 'transients', and remain relatively 'invisible' in studies of both skilled international migration and brain drain (Appleyard, 1985, 1989; Findlay, 1988; Salt and Findlay, 1989).

Importance of transient professional migrants in the world system cannot be underestimated as we attempt to extend our knowledge of brain drain. 'Transient' professional migration has been fuelled by the organizational strategies of transnational corporations. During the last 30 years, economic restructuring, the rise of the new international division of labour and advances in information technology and travel, have all encouraged transnational corporations to fragment and extend their industrial activities offshore, from their host country (Dicken, 1998). …

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