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Over the last decade, geographers have paid a great deal of attention to transnational firms (TNCs) and global production networks (GPNs) in the global economy, to the emergence of a mobile transnational business class and also to the development of global or globalizing cities. All three literatures have made important contributions to understanding the spatiality of global economic activity, but each adopts a fairly discreet theoretical and empirical focus. This article aims to outline a number of theoretical dimensions for thinking about how these key strands to the globalization debate can be brought together through the concept of global business spaces. It will propose a framework for understanding the spatialities of global economic activity that seeks to capture the complex interaction of material, social, organizational and virtual spaces that form the context through which it is constituted. With reference to business travel as a key form of economic practice which plays a central role in (re)producing these spaces, it assesses how these emerging spaces of global economic activity present problems for the conceptual categories commonly used by both urban and economic geographers. In so doing, it proposes a series of ways in which a different research agenda can produce new insight into the complex forms of social practice at the centre of global economic activity.

Keywords: business travel; economic practices; global cities; globalization; space; transnational firms

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Centre for Applied Economic Geography, Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX, United Kingdom., Email:

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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