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Globalization, Cities and the Rise of Global Work

Globalization, Cities and the Rise of Global Work

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Globalization, Cities and the Rise of Global Work

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  1. Globalization, Cities and the Rise of Global Work 14th GaWC Annual Lecture Department of Geography University of Loughborough 25 May 2012 Andrew Jones Birkbeck, University of London

  2. Global Cities – the very idea… “the space of the global city is not marked by headquarters…For me the space of the global city is its productivity, it has to do with the capacities that it can bring together and we're talking about networked sub-economies” (SaskiaSassen, GaWC Annual Lecture 1999)

  3. Preamble • Sassen (1991) ‘ The Global City’ - 4 functions: • (i) command point; • (ii) site of production • (iii) market • (iv) innovation site • Sassen (2001) & Castells (2009): global cities as networked places • Taylor & GaWC connectivity of the tertiary economy in this networked space • Two questions/ issues have been focus of global city work: • Networked hierarchies (where is important) • Spatial connectivity ( how linkages are important) • Today: reconsider this way of thinking around what (economic) actors do (practices) that makes cities ‘global’

  4. 1) Introduction • Global city idea now over 20 years old • Tensions: an economic, social or urban theory? • 2012: debate moved back to world cities, rise of new global East global cities • Geographical question: how much do we prioritise global city as a place? • as opposed to a site of ‘flow’? • or a network ‘node’? • Today: address these questions with a modest re-evaluation of significance of the ‘place’ in global economic development • Aim: open up some wider questions about our conceptualizations (or ‘epistemology’) of ‘global cities’ • Also illustrate this with research into the complex development of global labour markets

  5. This lecture • Revisit the development of ‘global city’ theories • Examine alternative ‘globalizations’ of the global city • Where does the ‘globality ‘of global cities stop & start • Reemphasise importance of temporality, as well as social cultural dimensions to global city globalization • Illustrate argument in relation to global economic practices: concept of ‘global work’ • Outline case study: international youth volunteering & linkage ‘global corporate work’ • Draw some specific & more general conclusions

  6. 2) Global city theories: a re-evaluation GaWc work famously mapped firm (& other) connections between cities Connectivity measured by transactions, contracts, firm subsidiaries, movements of workers Network concept: tension between node and linkage BUT other issues in original global city debates: social, cultural, political… Research here become increasingly integrated into urban studies more generally, but lost focus key conceptions of global city debate Important: global city as spatio-temporal, rather than spatialities (Sassen 1999, here!)

  7. 3) Revisiting other globalizations of the Global City • Reconnect different dimensions to global city debate • Tentative reconceptualisation of how we understand significance of global cities • Bridge between concepts of global cities in ‘network hierarchies’ (Taylor et al) as opposed ‘places’ (Massey) • Argue two neglected dimensions in dominant GaWc approach • Sociality (arena of social practice) • Temporality (evolutionary spaces) • Illustrate today through ‘global elite’ workforce development • Link literatures on global city labour markets, mobility, executive education & corporate working practices( Faulconbridge & Muzio 2009; Beaverstock 2010; Beaverstock & Hall 2012) • Useful: concept of ‘global work’

  8. Three Key Contentions • 1) Work as an activity & experience in all sectors is becoming increasingly multiscalar, and permeated by distanciated relations (after Amin / Held / Giddens) • 2) Globalization is transforming many kinds of work activities (low / high paid; skilled / unskilled) • 3) Global work is therefore something we all increasingly ‘do’, albeit in different ways

  9. 3) Global Work • Globalization has led to transformation in nature of work (formal & informal) -‘global work’ (c.f. Jones 2008) • New & important transformation linked to the wider globalization of economy & society • Five major aspects: • 1) Work increasingly bound into ‘distanciated’ relations • a practice bound into distant actors, places and relations • 2) Scalar transformation in the embodied practices that constitute work • New forms of mobility, business travel, secondment schemes • 3) Experience of ‘doing’ work is changing • global relations increasingly shape everyday practices of work • 4) Changed nature of power relations workers are entangled in • Work increasingly bound into complex multi-scalar and inter/intra organizational relationships • 5) Nature of workplaces changing • More than just physical places: virtual, organizational & social spaces

  10. 4) Global City / Non City Workspaces Global work approach: led to re-valuation of existing accounts of global city labour markets Jones (2002) argued Sassen’s command & control practices more diffuse across global city network BUT now argue that understandings of how global cities are ‘sites’ of global economic practice needs development Globalness of city space bound into array of past and present global (or ‘distanciated’) relationships What Sassens’ TNC Head Office & corporate workers are ‘doing’ linked to many different places and times Global city as a place is being constantly (re)made through linkages to other places / times (c.f. Murphy 2011) Not just linkages to other cities, but many spaces Illustrate this through a (maybe) unlikely example: international youth volunteering

  11. 5) International Youth Volunteering: training for global corporate work • Recent research into IYV placements & their outcomes • 2 strands of data • 1) Focus groups (15), qualitative interviews (150+) with 5 types of IYV projects (& secondary sources) • 7 countries from late 2004 to 2009, volunteer projects: • e.g. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (Vietnam, Tanzania, Guatemala, Japan) • Environmental Projects (Tanzania, Australia, Belize) • Children Summer Camps (US, Germany, Australia) • Community Projects (Vietnam, Mexico, Tanzania, Guatemala) • Important: graduate track volunteers embedded in UB degree • 2) HR managers & corporate recruiters (2010) • Mainly London-based blue chip firms in range of sectors • Interviews discussed value of gap year & voluntary work • Also secondary sources: corporate reports & graduate recruitment literature

  12. Argument: IYV & Global Professional Labour Markets • Research covers range of issue, but will focus today on professional labour market aspects • Key arguments: • 1) IYV cannot be reduced to any of the stereotypes currently in circulation (not pure leisure for many) • 2) Whilst negatives exist, evidence suggests a transformative experience that shapes sense of knowledge, intercultural understanding, skills, global consciousness & career choices • 3) IYV bound into complex rationales by young people about future life (work) choices • 4) Employer v aware of this, esp. in context of ongoing corporate globalization & need for ‘global professionals’ • 5) Global city work central to experience of IYV: location, hub, environment

  13. Dimension I: Knowledge & Cultural Understanding • Employers value the broad range of experiential knowledge: • I think the advantage that an applicant with that kind of experience [IYV] has is knowledge of what it is like to work in a foreign environment, a foreign country, and all the lessons that that entails…the little things like how to deal with everyday life when you don’t speak the language, or know what to do about medical services, or that you need to behave in a certain way in a foreign country when meeting work colleagues…” • (Recruitment Manager, EU Pharmaceutical Company, London) • Young volunteers were forced to learn in an unfamiliar, ad hoc and unprepared way: • “The fact these young people have coped abroad, perhaps in Africa or somewhere challenging is important…. My impression, if I’m honest, is many of these work experiences are pretty disorganised…I know the outfits that do those kind of things would probably resent that kind of statement, but I think it is true…. But the point is as graduates, we know the people who have been able to adapt from that, to learn things from that disorganization if you like…you know, a lot of working life is like that if you are someone who has to travel…” • (Graduate Recruiter, EU Company3, Paris)

  14. Dimension II: ‘Corporate Skills & Capacities’ • Overseas volunteers gained many skills employer’s value but which universities struggle to teach: • “A good gap year experience is invaluable…where people have been challenged, taken out of the comfort zone…they learn a lot of intangibles – getting on with people, organising themselves, self-discipline” (Manager, Human Resources, UK Company1) • “the main thing is confidence in being so far from home, in different country…at school I would say I wasn’t that kind of person [confident], and spending 9 months in Tanzania had to deal with people…loads of problems, it is hard to describe how much that has changed what I feel I can do…I definitely think that’s relevant to when I eventually want to get a job” (Jo, 19, Teaching Placement, Tanzania) • Capacities related to cultural sensitivity are particularly valued: • “It is about being able to apply knowledge, if you boil it down…my view is that, definitely, it is about knowing how to engage with another culture…realising that not only do you have to work differently, take account of another culture’s values, but also adapt whatever it is the job entails to that context…so having these experiences [international volunteering] we think is invaluable in beginning that learning”[HR Manager, UK Retail Company (Apparel)]

  15. C) Dimension III: ‘Global Consciousness, Values & Identity • Evidence suggest many volunteers have transformed perspective & ‘loose global consciousness’: • “I have learnt loads about the people here, and a lot about what teaching involves…but, the culture is so different, and it when we first got here, we had all these stereotypes…they’re like…completely gone. I know so much now I would have no idea about if I hadn’t done this.” (Paul, 22, School Placement, Ho Chi Minh) • Enhanced understanding of the host country context: • “Definitely important is some sense in them [graduate recruits] that the mission of the company is of wider general benefit…, not like we’re saving the world, of course…but I mean in terms of internationalising the business, we bring products, contribute to rising living standards and so on… they don’t have to be zealots or anything, but if they’ve been overseas… I think they will understand and have some sympathy…” [HR Manager, EU Food Products firm [paraphrased], London] • Sense of ability / desire to intervene: “Being here has…changed my whole view of the world, I think…you just see things differently…understand how the local here see thing from Mexico, from Central America. I feel part of a bigger community I guess …” (Alex, 19, Community Project, Mexico City) [paraphrased]

  16. D) Dimension IV: ‘Global Career Choices’ • Volunteering experience is formative in relation to career: • “I am thinking about working for a charity or in development now. I always used to think I wanted to be in fashion…after being here, I would definitely look to work in Latin America...” • (Ali, [F] 19, Community Project, Belize) • Awareness of international career relevance: • “Definitely I think this will help with a job…although I have no idea yet, maybe in business, or law or something. I think the travel gives you something companies want” (Sarah, 21, Teaching assistant, Summer Camp, near Melbourne, Australia) • International dimension important, but many in professional contexts: • It has changed my view. I would definitely want to work abroad after Uni, maybe in Africa. I had thought I wanted a financial kind of job so maybe one that let’s me travel”(Anna, 20, Environmental Project, Tanzania) • “I know from this placement I don’t want to teach… it’s not me. But have I have enjoyed being in Asia, and I would absolutely like to work here properly some time in the future.” (Jack, 19, Teaching Placement, Hannoi) • Argue: likely many will end up in professional jobs

  17. Concluding Possibilities • Key argument: global city theories focusing on corporate networks tell only part of the story of global city’s role in globalization • Globalization in 21st century deepening in terms of social, cultural integration across global city network • Sassen’s point about the capacities that global cities bring together needs much more research focus • Capacities of global city linked to global labour market development: more substantial, more entwined and more complex • Global workers • Global work • Global careers • Global cities enrolling multiple other places & times as sites of global integration

  18. Embedded still in distanciated practices and linkages with past forms of global work that inform their current work for global organizations • IYV: experience global city network as global worker trainees, as tourists & as travellers • people I interviewed now global city corporate workers themselves • IYV part of wider mobile global workforce including far more than corporate employees: third sector workers, aid workers, travellers, volunteers, working tourists… • Global cities, especially lower tier ones in global South play key role in shaping understanding, aspiration & capacities of these potential global workers • Corporate recruiters recognise the importance of this training / acculturization experience • Global labour market development becoming integrated across time and space, will itself in future shape nature of firms, cities and culture • Some thoughts: how engagement with other dimensions of global city globalization (e.g. work practices) might shape future research