The website for critical discussion about migration in Central and Eastern Europe.
22. 5. 07
Sam Scott
Zdroj: migrationonline.cz

The ability of "world city" theory to explain contemporary patterns and processes of intra-European labour migration

This paper has one main aim, namely to examine the ability of ‘world city’ theory to account for contemporary patterns of intra-European labour migration. The world city approach has, over the past two decades, proved to be one of the most robust and reliable frameworks through which to understand international migration. However, like all theories it has limitations. The geographical, political and economic context it captures cannot explain labour mobility in its entirety, and this paper identifies the explanatory borders of world city theory in view of contemporary patterns of intra-European migration. There are three substantive parts to the paper. First, the relationship between world city theory and labour migration is summarised. Second, the paper identifies key groups of labour migrants covered by this theory. Third, the migratory patterns and processes that cannot directly be explained by the geo-economic logic of world city capitalism are explored. In this final section four limitations to world city theory are discussed, all of which have a particular relevance within a European context.

Introduction: World Cities

The 1990s was a decade of profound transition in academia: a time when social scientists began en masse to recognise the need for global and transnational analytical frameworks to understand rapidly unfolding social, economic, political and cultural processes located within, but also increasingly beyond, the nation-state. At the same time, following considerable criticism (White and Jackson, 1995), migration scholars began to develop more theoretically-informed research that tied in to this geo-analytical shift. [1] It also became clear that rising levels of international migration could be explained and indeed influenced by the global and transnational processes unfolding.

These dynamics provided the backdrop for the widespread adoption of the world city framework by migration scholars. This adoption has been (rightly) welcomed, however, some uncertainty remains: what exactly do we mean when we talk of a world city approach to international migration? Which groups are covered by the geographical, economic and political structures it identifies? Which groups are not? We will now deal with the first of these questions, with issues of coverage addressed in the two sections that follow on from this.

The notion of world, rather than national, cities has an incredibly long history; dating back to at least the Roman Empire. In modern times this notion has taken on particular saliency as national economies have become increasingly global in orientation, reach and outlook. The first real coherent analysis of the form and function of world cities was advanced by John Friedman (Friedman and Wolff, 1982). The underlying logic of the thesis is that, because of a number of ‘New International Divisions of Labour (NIDL)’ (Frobel et al., 1980), different types of locations perform different specialist functions across the globe. Geography and economics are intertwined, and one of the outcomes from this relationship that has assumed global proportions is the world city. These have, according to Friedman and Wolff (1982: 320), nine defining functions: management; banking and finance; legal services; accounting; technical consulting; telecommunications and computing; international transportation; research; and higher education.

Crucially, high-order functions in particular – most falling into the advanced producer service category (see Daniels, 1998) – depend upon agglomeration economies (centred on world cities) to maintain their competitive advantage at a global scale. World cities are where the constituent networks (economic, financial, social, political, technological, etc.) of these high-order agglomeration economies are grounded. In addition, they also host concentrations of routine ‘servicing’ industries – domestic work, hospitality, cleaning, etc – that provide for those working in the upper echelons of the global economy. They are, therefore, places of extremes: where society, according to Sassen (1991), is at it most polarised and unequal (although see: Body-Gendrot, 1996; Hamnett, 1994), which in terms of labour mobility means the co-presence of high and low status migrants. [2]

So where are the world cities in Europe, and how are they defined? Well, most obviously, cities can be ranked within a global league table. Such a system (using an ‘alphas, beta, gamma’ classification) has been advanced by Friedman (1995: 321) and subsequently refined by the Global and World Cities Network in the UK (Beaverstock et al., 1999, 2000). The specific form and function of the global economic nodes hosted by the cities (Taylor, 2000), and the networks and flows they accommodate that structure these nodes (Castells, 1996; Taylor, 2004) underpin the global urban hierarchy mapped out in Figure 1. [3]  A time-space dimension is also significant in shaping global economic space (as distinct from physical space). As Figure 2 makes clear, the networks and flows of certain cities seem particularly closely aligned. Such economic hyper-connectivity means that the world is effectively smallest when moving through world cities, and most notably when moving through the ‘alpha’ and ‘beta’ economic core of North America and Western Europe. This obviously has implications in terms of global patterns of labour migration and the particular significance of Europe within this. 

London, Paris and Frankfurt and Milan are all ‘alpha’ cities; Madrid, Brussels, and Zurich are ‘beta’ cities; and there are an additional 13 other European ‘gamma’ world cities. Importantly, the significance of these global centres relative to Europe’s provincial cities appears to be increasing: “looking back over the four decades, there is clear evidence of an improvement in the position of large cities relative to smaller cities” (Turok and Mykhnenko, 2006: 10). This said, Europe remains highly differentiated, and national patterns of urban inequality vary. The bifurcation is particularly pronounced in centrist countries, like the UK, where: “…there is only one star economic performing city – London” (Dorling, 2006: 357). However, in federalist countries like Spain and Germany, such concentration is less evident. Thus one must recognise the continued salience of national traditions alongside emergent global forces in shaping levels of urban development and associated international labour migration.

Friedman’s thesis has since the beginning stressed the significance of migration in world city formation and this link has been most famously developed by Saskia Sassen (1991) in her classic text ‘Global Cities’. Sassen argues that migrants are central components of the modern global economy, and that the competitive success of world cities can partly be explained by their ability to attract certain types of labour migrant. Very simply, in terms of the networks and flows constituting the contemporary world city: “international labour mobility is one of the most significant” (Williams et al. 2004: 27). Further, to understand this role, scholars must look across a transnational class spectrum, from office cleaner to CEO. Crucially, world city theory is flexible and robust enough to allow this socio-economic diversity and is able to explain the migratory co-presence, within world cities, of workers at both the very top and the very bottom of the emergent global socio-economic hierarchy.

There is, of course, a particular geo-political dimension to European world cities. First, and most notably, Europe still has a large middle-class and a significant welfare system; so that whilst inequality and polarisation may be a feature of world cities, there is still considerable political resistance tempering the extreme tendencies of global capitalism. Second, there is clearly a specific European dimension to the global urban hierarchy outlined in figure 1, and this has led some to make the case for European city-regions:  

“As soon as the economy is understood as a spatially situated production system, the EU economic territory presents itself primarily as an archipelago of regional economic centres which constitute a transnationally interlinked "network" of dynamic urban agglomerations and metropolitan regions” (Krätke, 2006: 37).

Third, labour mobility within Europe has been facilitated by a progressively more liberal and supportive geo-political environment, associated with the end of the Cold War; the enlargement of the European Union; and the progressive realisation of the free movement of labour provision within the Treaty of Rome. Thus, whilst migrants from outside the EU have increasingly been subject to tighter nation-state and EU control, internal mobility is relatively free from such formal constraints. These particular European dynamics, amongst others, caution against the universal adoption of world city theory by scholars of intra-European labour migration. The next two sections of the paper – aware of such nuances – examine the limitations of world city theory in explaining contemporary patterns of intra-European labour mobility.


2. Labour Migration

The EU still has some way to go before the economic integration of its cities is matched by a similarly intense movement of European workers. Figure 3 captures the disconnection between the global economic integration depicted in figures 1 and 2, and the much ‘stickier’ movement of workers/families. We may be in an age of migration (Castles and Miller, 2003) but claims of mass intra-European mobility are still premature (EFILWC, 2006; Zlotnik, 1998).

In terms of those who migrate between world cities, skilled migrants are perhaps the most symbolically significant, with low-status migrants the most important numerically. According to Salt (1997) highly skilled migration is characterised by: “a series of largely self-contained and non-competing sub-groups (with) low elasticities of supply” (Salt 1997: 5). Demand for highly skilled professionals usually originates within transnational corporations, which as we know, invariably cluster within cities of global rather than national or regional importance. Indeed, the competitive edge of world cities is maintained by the ability of leading companies to attract particular transnational flows of human capital.

For over two decades, geographers have been at the forefront in studying highly skilled migration as a vital ingredient in an increasingly global, and increasingly knowledge-based, economy (Beaverstock 1994, 2005; Findlay 1989, 1995; Salt 1983, 1997). Particular flows of knowledge, via migration, ensure competitive advantage for the high-order, knowledge-intense, advanced producer service industries that cluster within world cities. Using micro, meso and macro explanatory concepts – from the individual career path, to corporate labour markets, to international recruitment, and economic restructuring – authors like Beaverstock, Findlay and Salt (amongst others) have developed convincing multi-level accounts of highly skilled migration that are rooted within the geo-economic rationale of world city theory. Their work has, however, been subject to criticism for underplaying the role of skilled female migrants – as workers and as wives (Ackers, 1998; Iredale, 2005; Kofman and Raghuram, 2006; Zulauf, 2001). It has also been criticised, particularly from a European perspective, for ignoring middle-class migrants who are not part of an elite transnational professional class (Scott, 2006).

Turning away from the dazzling lights of the global migrant elite, equally blinding (but in a metaphorically very different sense) are the large numbers of low-status migrants attracted to world cities (see, for example, Hjarno, 2003; Jordan and Düvell, 2002; Datta, 2006). Sassen’s polarisation thesis (1991) argues that world cities are characterised as much by low-status as by high status migrants. The former group may not provide places like London, Madrid and Paris with their defining economic competitive ‘cutting-edge’, but they are vital in the routine servicing functions they perform.

World cities tend to house migrants at increasingly distant socio-economic poles and, not only does the political economy of world cities help to explain highly skilled migration, it also helps to explain the growing concentrations of migrants performing dirty, dangerous and demanding work. These vital low-status workers are usually employed on temporary contracts, often working unsociable hours, for the minimum wage (or below), and sometimes without appropriate documentation. Sectors such as domestic work (Cox and Watt, 2002; Ehrenreich and Hochschild, 2003) and hospitality (McIlwaine et al., 2006) are essentially the antithesis to the transnational corporate milieu. World cities, then, attract very different agglomeration economies and thus depend upon migrants operating within very different socio-economic circuits of the global economy.

The unprecedented bonuses recently paid to advanced producer service workers in the City of London (Teather, 2006), alongside contemporaneous protests by cleaners in the same district fighting for a ‘living wage’ (BBC, 2006), demonstrates the extent of the gap between the “global super-rich” (Beaverstock et al., 2004) and the rest of society. This gap appears to be widening the most within world cities, and is and is at its most extreme when viewed through the eyes of different migrant groups (Seager and Milner, 2006).   

Portes (Portes and Rumbaut, 1996; Portes and Zhou, 1993) has attempted to explain this bifurcation in the socio-economic system, and its selective impact upon different migrant groups, through reference to primary and secondary labour markets and the idea of ‘segmented assimilation’. He argues that certain migrants are pushed to the extreme margins of society, where they are forced to carve out an existence of sorts. This systemic exclusion adds an extra transnational dimension to traditional class politics, and it is a dimension that appears to be growing in importance and increasingly associated with particular world city districts. It was obvious to the founding father of world city theory that places like London, Paris, Milan, Madrid and Berlin are “unable to hold out the promise of a better life to the vast majority of the world’s population” (Friedman, 1995: 43). Friedman called this “the dualism of the excluded, the Achilles’ heel of capitalism”, cautioning that “if we continue to ignore it, it will bring us face to face with unimaginable grief” (ibid.). The power of a world city theoretical framework lies in its ability to expose us to the manic tendencies of global capitalism, and when this is then linked to labour migration we see these tendencies literally face-to-face, migrant to migrant.


3. The limits of the world city political economy

This said, it is clear that the world city thesis only goes so far, and that places like London, Paris, Milan, Madrid and Berlin attract migrants who are not always tied to the extreme economic logic of global capitalism. Most obviously, many people of working age migrate for reasons other than work, and this is particularly true when formal geo-political barriers to mobility are low, and/or when cities have a global cultural as well as economic magnetism; Bruff’s paper in this theme on skilled migrant agency develops this point very adroitly.

The limits to world city theory have always been apparent but have not often been identified. MacEinrí (1991: 37) observed back in 1991 that, “the motivations of the middle-class emigrant are as likely to be non-economic as work-driven”. Similarly, King (2002: 89) has argued that, “many of the key questions that were asked to frame our understanding of the functioning of migration (in Europe) now have a very different array of answers from the largely economic ones which shaped our earlier analyses”. The reduction in formal geo-political barriers to mobility in Europe – enshrined by the Treaty of Rome, and developed by a range of policy shifts over the past half-century – is central in this respect. You do not have to be part of an elite corporate labour market to circumvent nation-state border controls in Europe, and so migration independent of transnational career paths is a much more viable prospect. The continued prominence of the middle-class in Europe, and associated survival of European social/welfare model, is also significant and explains the presence of ‘normal’ middle-class professional migrants within European cities (MacEinrí, 1991; Scott, 2006).

It is important to consider these ‘local’ geo-political nuances alongside ‘global’ world city explanations of international labour mobility – not least because the ability of normal people to work wherever they wish is one of the EU’s founding principles; as such, European labour migration is, not yet at least, simply about workers at the social extremes of the global political economy. [4] These geo-political nuances are an important point; the European project is, after all, built on ideologies of social support, government intervention, and free movement of workers, and should the normal ‘middle-class’ in Europe start to shrink, and geographical mobility decline, fundamental questions about the raison d’ętre of the European Union will undoubtedly start being asked. One cannot, therefore, look at labour mobility within Europe without recognising that it is not simply about migrants at the extremes of the global political economy.

Another limitation of the world city thesis is its primary focus on the economic migrant, when we know that the appeal of cities is often, and arguably increasingly, culturally constituted. Urban social theorists in the US, for instance, have begun to use culture to explain how the ‘cutting edge’ of world cities is established, and it seems that elite economic networks are no longer, on their own, sufficient to secure competitive advantage in the global space economy (Florida, 2004; Glaeser and Gottlieb, 2006; Hannerz, 1996: 129-132). We must, therefore, be careful not to assume – as the world city thesis tends to – that international mobility is dominated by polarised groups of workers, and can be explained purely through reference to transnational economic flows and processes.

The above is not so much a criticism of world city theory, more a recognition that world city theory only goes so far in explaining the post-war “growth in volume and significance” (Castles and Miller, 1993: 4) of European labour migration. In a similar spirit, Benton-Short et al. (2005) have argued that world cities are not inevitably immigrant cities, and have called for more research into the relationship between global urban hierarchies and international flows of labour (what they term ‘globalization from below’). Figure 4 maps cities with over 200,000 foreign-born residents and, when compared with the world city roster in Figure 1, it is clear that there are important differences. Dubai, for example, is clearly an immigrant city but much less of a world city, and whilst Tokyo may be a prima facie world city, it does not score well in terms of its foreign-born population. This ‘Dubai-Tokyo’ effect suggests the need for subtlety and caution when using the political economy of world cities in order to explain international labour flows and processes (Benton-Short et al., 2005). [5]

It is also important not to be drawn in by a handful of high-profile global economic centres. Sassen’s arguments, for example, are based on evidence from only three global cities, whilst Friedman’s analysis was clearly shaped by processes witnessed in North America. For the European analyst this point is extremely important, and suggests a need to think beyond the ‘alpha’ and ‘beta’ world city hierarchy. This is particularly the case when examining, for example, migration to/from post-socialist cities, which have not traditionally fallen within world city research terrain. As McNeil observes, contemporary urban theory has so far been “insensitive to the diversity and distinctiveness of the impact of globalisation on European cities” (McNeil, 1999: 143) and nowhere is this more true than in Eastern Europe. The blind spot is inevitable given that the world city thesis is, ipso facto, concerned with the global political economy. Nevertheless, this does not justify a lack of engagement by migration scholars with other political-economic frameworks that are more attuned to the highly variegated socio-economic, cultural and political terrain in Europe and the unique migratory biographies of Europe’s leading cities.

Remaining with the Eastern Europe example, it has become evident that certain post-socialist cities are now significant places of migrant origin and destination. Berlin, Budapest, Prague and Warsaw, for instance, are now well integrated into the global economic system (as figure 5 shows), and whilst they may not stand out in terms of their position within the global urban hierarchy (see figure 1), their progress since 1989 has been extremely significant. They have very rapidly become important destinations for low status labour migrants from the east, and to a lesser extent for highly skilled migrants from the west. (Drbohlav and Čermák, 1998; Iglicka, 2001; Wallace and Stola, 2001; Williams et al., 2001). They are also the source of significant numbers of labour migrants now working across Western Europe, many of whom are living outside world cities. This two-way shift is a recent one, and has been very significant within a European context. Furthermore, it cautions against the inevitable ‘headline city’ effect whereby alpha and beta cities have tended to dominate world city analysis.

Related to this, it is apparent that the success of the world city framework may have inadvertently marginalised alternative geographies of intra-European labour migration. For instance, the European food system has undergone a dramatic process of restructuring over the past decade, brought about by globalisation ‘from above’ (principally cost-pressures from transnational food retailers and suppliers). This restructuring has in turn underpinned a process of globalisation ‘from below’, whereby international migrants have been used to fill low-status ‘vacancy chains’ in agriculture, horticulture and food processing and packing. In Greece, for example, large numbers of Albanian farm workers have reversed decades of rural depopulation (Kasimis and Papadopoulos, 2005), whilst in Spain Moroccans and Ukrainians compete for work in the rural production networks that now quench much of northern Europe’s year-round appetite for exotic produce (Caballero and Ruiz García, 2004; Hogart and Mendoza, 2000). In the UK, European labour migration to provincial cities, market towns and rural areas has accelerated since the last census and has transformed once homogenous and conservative areas of the UK (Audit Commission, 2007; CRC, 2007; Green et al., 2007; Stenning, 2006). These migrant workers are European – mainly from Poland, the Baltic states, and Portugal – and are responding to globalisation. However, the framework to explain their mobility must draw on theories of global agri-business, food supply chains/systems and rural restructuring, rather than on the world city thesis. This may appear obvious, but it remains the case that intra-European labour migration has, to-date, mainly been theorised through the vista of the world city.


Intra-European Labour Migration beyond the World City: The Case of Eastern European Agricultural Workers in the UK

Tables 1 and 2 illustrate the recent shift in the centre of gravity of intra-European labour mobility in the UK. Specifically, EU enlargement increased east-to-west mobility (see Table 1), but it has become apparent that many migrant workers from Eastern Europe are now looking outside London/south-east England (see Table 2). There is a new geography to the arrival and settlement of labour migrants in the UK, and more specifically those from Eastern Europe. This directly links to political processes of post-socialist transition and EU enlargement as well as to the global economic restructuring of agriculture that has taken place over the past decade and the associated dominance of large transnational food suppliers/retailers. According to the Home Office (2006), most of these eastern European labour migrants are engaged in temporary employment (many recruited through gangmasters), are on very low pay (78% earn less than Ł5.99 per hour, just above the British minimum wage level), and are young (82% are aged 18-34). Furthermore, rural and semi-rural areas have seen an unprecedented influx of migrant workers since the last UK census in 2001. Poles, for example, make up 55% of all immigrant agricultural workers in the UK, whilst there are more workers from Latvia and Lithuania in agriculture than in any other sector (ibid.). The picture then is of growing geographical dispersal with respect to labour migration, particularly in terms of intra-European mobility. This is a pattern that also seems to be evident in the US, where scholars have identified a new set of immigrant ‘gateway cities’ (Brown et al., 2007), and it may be that the ‘age of migration’ we are in is leading to new geographical patterns of labour migration that challenge the omnipotence of world city theory.


4. Conclusion

The tendency of global capitalism to shape migration at the upper and lower echelons of the socio-economic system and to direct this migration to particular places is well captured within the world city framework. Patterns and processes of intra-European migration are, however, more complex than this framework can allow for. This complexity seems to have increased over recent years with, for instance, the transitions in Eastern Europe that culminated in EU enlargement, as well as the continued restructuring of the European food sector. It is also the case that the European welfare state continues to mediate the extreme tendencies of global capitalism and that, as a result, European world cities are not simply home to highly polarised forms of migration: they continue to support a migrant middle-class, with intra-European freedom of movement and the mutual recognition of qualifications important enabling components in this respect. Thus, whilst world city theory offers a robust and reliable explanatory framework, it has important limitations with respect to intra-European labour migration.   

The paper has highlighted four limitations that are particularly salient from a European perspective. First, by predominantly focusing on economic flows and networks, the world city thesis ignores the ‘middle’ of migration. In a European welfare context this is a particularly important omission. Second, world cities are not inevitably immigrant cities, suggesting that the geo-political explanatory framework of the thesis only goes so far. Third, it is clear that when scholars talk of world city research, they are generally referring to ‘alpha’ world cities, and that important alternative migration geographies are inevitably pushed to the periphery. Fourth, and finally, the settlement patterns of intra-European migrant workers have become more diffuse over recent years, associated with political-economic shifts that go beyond the explanatory scope of the world city thesis. Significantly, all four of these limitations have a strong European dimension.

The aim of the paper was to assess the ability of ‘world city’ theory to explain contemporary patterns and processes of intra-European labour migration. Through identifying four important limitations to world city theory we have, hopefully, set in motion a more critical theoretical engagement amongst European migration scholars. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the world city framework remains the leading contemporary lens through which to view intra-European labour mobility. Not only does it represent an important theoretical benchmark, it also contains, as the earlier quotation from Friedman makes clear, a strong normative dimension. Specifically, the world city approach champions a geographical perspective for advancing our knowledge of the extreme, and increasingly transnational, migrant-based, socio-economic outcomes of globalisation. This critical edge, on its own, makes world city theory one of the leading companions for any scholar of international migration. However, whilst it may be a leading companion, it must not be the only guide in our quest to understand the diverse patterns and processes of intra-European labour migration.

5. Acknowledgements

Thank you to Professor Paul White, Dr Dimitris Ballas and Dr Ian Bruff for comments on an earlier draft of this paper, and for those who granted me permission to reproduce the figures included in the paper.

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Taylor, P. J. (2004) World city network: a global urban analysis. Routledge: New York.

Teather, D. (2006) The bonus bonanza. The Guardian, November 4th, 27-28.

Vertovec, S. (1999) Conceiving and researching transnationalism. Ethnic and Racial Studies 22: 447-462.

Wallace, C. and Stola, D. (eds.) (2001) Patterns of Migration in Central Europe. Palgrave: Basingstoke.

White, P. and Jackson, P. (1995) (Re)theorising population geography. International Journal of Population Geography 1: 111-123.

Williams, A., Baláž, V. and Kollár, D. (2001) Coming and going in Slovakia: international labour mobility in the central European ‘buffer zone’. Environment and Planning A 33: 1101-1123.

Williams, A., Baláž, V. and Wallace, C. (2004) International labour mobility and uneven regional development in Europe. European Urban and Regional Studies 11: 27-46.

Zlotnik, H. (1998) International migration 1965-1996: an overview. Population and Development Review 24: 429-68.

Zulauf, M. (2001) Migrant Women Professionals in the European Union. Palgrave: Basingstoke.


Useful Website Resources

Globalization, Urbanisation, Migration (GUM)


Globalization and World Cities (GaWC)


Global Cities at Work


Globalisation, Employment and Migration in Europe (GEME)


7. Figures

Figure 1. The Global and World Cities Roster.Figure 1. The Global and World Cities Roster.

Source: Beaverstock et al. (1999); available in original size at: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/gawc/citymap.html
See pdf file for full-size image

Figure 2. World City Proximity in Global Corporate Service Space.


Source: Taylor (2000: 162)
See pdf file for full-size image

Figure 3. Intra-EU Mobility: the role of distance in migratory decision making.


Source: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (2006: 14)
See pdf file for full-size image

Figure 4. The GUM Ranking of Global Immigrant Cities.


Source: Benton-Short et al. (2005) and available at: http://gstudynet.com/gum/Maps/WorldFBMap.jpg
See pdf file for full-size image

Figure 5. Relative global connectivity within the European urban system.

Source: Kratke (2006: 28)
See pdf file for full-size image

8. Tables


Table 1: The increasing significance of labour migration to the UK from Eastern Europe (top five 2004 accession states)













Slovak Republic








Czech Republic




Source: Authors own calculations based on Department of Work and Pensions National Insurance (place of registration) data

Table 2: The dispersal of Eastern European migrants: the top ten Local Authority destinations for Polish workers 2002-2006 (locations outside London/south-east
England indicated in bold)










Edinburgh, City of














City of Edinburgh








Waltham Forest



Source: Authors own calculations based on Department of Work and Pensions National Insurance (place of registration) data


[1] See, for example, the corpus of transnational migration research: Portes et al., 1999; Vertovec, 1999.

[2] Note that we use ‘low status’ rather than ‘low skilled’, because many low status jobs are actually filled by relatively highly skilled migrants.

[3] There are different ways to conceptualise and measure a city’s global reach. This accounts for the different terms applied to world cities since the thesis was first advanced in the 1980s. The most commonly used labels are the global city (Sassen, 1991); the information city (Castells, 1989); and the transnational city (Hannerz, 1996).

[4] Although European welfare regimes survive, they have been subject to considerable retrenchment over recent years as a result of the pressures exerted upon them by the global (neo-liberal) political economy. This suggests that the explanatory ability of world city theory may increase in future as welfare checks on social polarisation are eroded. Nevertheless, whether this proves to be the case or not is an open empirical question (see for example: George, 1998).

[5] Furthermore, it also suggests a need to examine more carefully the city-specific factors which help shape the composition, number and frequency of these flows and processes.  At present the world city thesis tends to treat all world cities as like-for-like cases, which, as this paper has argued, is both theoretically unsound and empirically questionable.

Currently a post doctoral fellow in Human Geography at the University of Sheffield (UK), but will be moving to the University of Liverpool (UK) to take up a Human Geography lectureship in July 2007. Sam completed his Ph.D., on the changing patterns of intra-European skill migration, in 2003. Since then his research has focused on two areas: European social exclusion and international labour migration. Most recently, Sam has received funding – from the Nuffield Foundation and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – to examine temporary labour (much of which involves Eastern European migrant workers) in the UK food industry. Sam teaches undergraduate and post-graduate courses on the social geography of Europe and runs a third-year field class to Berlin. He can be reached at sam.scott@liv.ac.uk.
22. 5. 07
Zdroj: migrationonline.cz

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