Transnational urban spaces from a structurational perspective: the embeddedness of transnational professionals in the multi-level tempo-spatial context of corporate strategies

Authors: Sakura Yamamura*,
Topics: Economic Geography, Urban Geography, Social Geography
Keywords: transnational corporations, transnational professionals, structuration, tempo-spatial, transnational urban space, global cities
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Empire Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Research on transnational professionals has been mostly limited to their agency and practices within globally operating corporations, discussing their business networks and professional practices (e.g. Beaverstock, 2002, 2005; Faulconbridge, 2008; Morgan, 2001). Research on global cities, - which are the main transnational urban spaces in which transnational corporations (TNCs) and with them where migrant professionals are located in-, has focused predominantly on firm- and city-level quantitative analysis and policy issues (Brenner and Keil, 2006; Derudder et al., 2012), overlooking the agency of human actors in the process of global city-making, too. Transnational professionals as the actual decision-makers within TNCs are characterized by their dual roles in the making of transnational urban spaces – as corporate actors but also individuals with socio-spatial practices.

Starting from such critique, this paper discusses the role of TNCs as the core structural context in which corporate professionals as actors with dual functions are embedded. It discusses the interplay between the macro-level corporate strategies of dispatching their transnational professionals to global cities, and the individual micro-level socio-spatial patterns of these actors. A crucial aspect is the multidimensional temporal constraints made by corporate structures and contexts in which transnational professionals are embedded. Basing on interviews with 45 professionals in Tokyo, this paper discusses the complexity of the interwoven impacts of global corporate strategies and individual personal preferences in making the transnational urban space. It proposes to conceptualize the space-making by TNCs and their professionals into the context of a multi-level embeddedness of temporal-spatial-constraints from a structurational perspective.

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