Exclusion and disarticulation in Global Production Networks: A practice oriented methodology

Authors: James Murphy*, Clark University
Topics: Economic Geography, Qualitative Methods, Africa
Keywords: disarticulation, global production networks, practice, methodology, East Africa
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 6:20 PM
Room: Proteus, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper argues that a practice-oriented methodology can reveal critical insights into the drivers of disarticulation and exclusion that are associated with global production networks (GPN) today; particularly in the Global South where economic globalization is occurring concomitantly with rising inequality, uneven development, and the splintering of cities into spaces of accumulation and immiseration. Conceptualizing GPNs as what Schatzki (2005) refers to as “practice-arrangement bundles”, the paper builds off of the notion that practices are “sites” wherein the outcomes (e.g., exclusion, disarticulation, uneven development) of globalized production are socially produced to the benefit/cost of differentiated subjects and places. Through in-depth qualitative analyses of GPN practices – the everyday activities through which production, exchange, marketing, management, etc. occurs in globalized sectors – researchers can explicate inductively how firms/workers participate in or gain access to GPNs, what pathways for upgrading and enhanced value capture are (im)possible, and why many are excluded from participation. In doing so, a practice-oriented methodology can reveal the core drivers of disarticulation as established, taken-for-granted, or “necessary” practices devalue particular subjects, livelihoods, and communities, create and reinforce splintered spaces of accumulation and disinvestment, and produce places/regions/cities marked by increasingly uneven development. To illustrate the value of this approach, the paper draws on empirical research conducted in Zanzibar’s tourism industry to outline a method for studying exclusionary practices and the disarticulations they create/reproduce.

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