Call For Papers (RGS-IBG 2017) – Advancing global production networks research: progress and prospects

Call for papers: RGS‐IBG Annual Conference, 29th August to 1st September 2017 (London)

Advancing global production networks research: progress and prospects

Organizers: Neil M. Coe and Henry Wai‐chung Yeung (National University of Singapore and GPN@NUS Research Centre)
Sponsored by: EGRG, Economic Geography, Environment and Planning A, and Journal of Economic Geography

We invite submissions for two paper sessions. These sessions will be accompanied by:

  • A panel session on the topic of “Global production networks: making connections within human geography” featuring Stephanie Barrientos, Gavin Bridge, Ben Derudder, Nicky Gregson and Henry Yeung;
  • A plenary lecture delivered by Adrian Smith (QMUL) on the topic of “Global production network research and geographical studies of uneven development”.

Rationale and remit 

Since its emergence in the early 2000s, global production network (GPN) research has become firmly established as a key field within economic geography and the wider social sciences. Rather than being self‐contained, however, GPN research is embedded in a vibrant interdisciplinary field concerned with developing chain and networks approaches to understanding the organizational dynamics and uneven developmental outcomes of the global economy. In addition to economic geography and regional studies, this agenda involves economic sociology, political science, international political economy and development studies and, increasingly, international trade economics and international business studies. The area is also one that has gathered strong purchase and relevance among international organizations, national governments and other important policy audiences, often using the terminology of global value chains (GVCs).

If in its early formulations GPN research offered a useful heuristic device for unpacking the shifting organizational geographies of the global economy, more recent endeavours under the moniker ‘GPN 2.0’ have sought to enhance the explanatory potential of the framework. In particular, there have been efforts to unravel the causal connections between the changing dynamics of global capitalism, the organizational configuration of GPNs, and on‐the‐ground patterns of (sub‐national) uneven development that result. These paper sessions aim to contribute to this drive by bringing together more‐than‐empirical contributions that either (a) address the core concerns of GPN/GVC research relating to transnational production networks and the resultant patterns of value capture and territorial development or (b) build on important recent work on the interfaces of GPNs with domains such as politics/the state, finance, labour, consumption and the environment. Papers are welcome that seek to integrate GPN and GVC analytics, as are those that focus on methodology and research practice.

Suggested themes (not limited to):

  • Global production networks and uneven regional development
  • Network and organizational dynamics in global production networks
  • Dynamic types and modes of strategic coupling with global production networks
  • Innovation and technological trajectories in global production networks
  • Varieties of national organization, institutions, and global production networks
  • Governance of global production networks
  • The (geo)politics of global production networks
  • Labouring in global production networks
  • Global production networks, environmental standards and sustainability
  • Economic, social and environmental upgrading in global production networks
  • Global production networks and consumption dynamics
  • Financing/financializing global production networks
  • Methodology in the study of global production networks


Please submit a title, 250-word abstract, and full contact details of all authors/presenters to Neil Coe ( by 31st January 2017. Please note the conference rule that an individual may not normally make more than two substantive contributions to the conference programme (paper presenter, panel member, discussant, etc.). In the event of us receiving too many submissions for the two sessions, we will undertake a selection process right a er the deadline and let all parties know the outcome as soon as possible. Precedence will be given to papers offering a clear conceptual contribution.


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