The Global City 2.0 : An International Political Actor Beyond Economism?

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: The aim of this thesis is to increase our understanding of the Global City’s pursuit of what can be regarded as independent foreign and security policies, despite the fact that such policies have traditionally been considered to be a core function of central governments. By studying how the Global City’s role in the globalized world is constructed in local public narratives as the local government develops and pursues specific international policies, the thesis argues, we can come closer to an understanding of what it means to be and to govern a Global City, and why its local government find it to be in the city’s interest to claim international political authority. A core claim is that Global City-hood as a specific type of collective identity can play a constitutive part in such interest formation.The study seeks to make three contributions, one of empirical nature and two of theoretical nature. The empirical contribution involves furthering our understanding of New York City’s local role conception as a Global City. This is also closely related to the first theoretical contribution whereby the case study of New York City as a most important case serves to develop our general understanding of what meanings are attached to contemporary Global City-hood from a local perspective. The second theoretical contribution involves outlining a new way of studying the Global City as international political actor by developing an interdisciplinary analytical framework combining insights from the Global Cities literature, studies on Urban Politics and International Relations respectively.The analysis shows that even as the Global City engages in issues such as global environmental governance or counterterrorism, such pursuit will be framed and rationalized in terms of the city’s economic growth. The quest for growth and global competitiveness are not necessarily the only available meanings attached to the being and governing of the contemporary Global City. However, there seems to be a remarkable persistency and attraction in economistic ideas and an economistic conception of the Global City.

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