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World Cities Are Just “Basing Points for Capital”: Interacting with the World City from the Global South

Abstract

There has been a substantial and continuous critique of the world city concept for several years now. One of the main thrusts this critique is taking is that the world city literature is insensitive to urbanisation processes in the global south and builds its theoretical advances on the empirical examples and perspectives of the global north. This paper traces the origins of world city research before examining the more recent critique of this extensive literature on world cities. The main argument is that the concept of the world city as developed by many prominent writers on the topic is not a recent resurgence of modernisation theory in urban studies, as implicitly submitted by its critics. Instead, it is not only conceptually relevant in the context of third world urbanisation, but provides ample room for critical evaluations of urban development in Africa and the global south more generally.

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Correspondence to Björn Surborg.

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Surborg, B. World Cities Are Just “Basing Points for Capital”: Interacting with the World City from the Global South. Urban Forum 22, 315 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12132-011-9129-6

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Keywords

  • World cities
  • Global cities
  • Global south
  • Third world urbanisation