Dear Economic Geographers

Below are two ideas for sessions at IAG Adelaide 2016 (29 June to 1 July).


If you have other ideas can you please send them to me asap in the format below. Deadline for sessions is Friday this week.

With best wishes for 2016


Phillip O’Neill

Convenor, Economic Geography Study Group.




1.       Proposed Session:


Commoning as a postcapitalist politics



Jenny Cameron, University of Newcastle, Australia



Commons and commoning are frequently framed in relation to capitalism. For example, there is a growing body of work on how capitalism is enclosing more and more of the world’s resources, and how people are resisting enclosures or building commons to escape the reach of capitalism. What if we take seriously De Angelis and Harvie’s suggestion that commons may be “part of a different historical trajectory” than capitalism (2013, 292)? What if we view commons and commoning as practices with their own dynamics and ethics that are not necessarily subject to the gravitational pull of capitalism?  This session focuses on ways of understanding commons and commoning outside of the prevalent capitalocentric imaginary. Presentations will examine everyday practices of commoning in a range of sites and in different periods, as well as propose new ways of theorising commons and commoning. Presentations will also explore how commons might be constituted through the interaction of human and more-than-human actants, and the role of commons and commoning as a form of politics for a climate-changing world.   



De Angelis, M. & Harvie, D. 2013. The commons. In The Routledge Companion to Alternative Organization, M. Parker, G. Cheney, V. Fournier and C. Land, eds, London: Routledge, 280-294.


2.       Proposed Session:


Assessing the concept of Global Production Networks



Phillip O’Neill, Western Sydney University, Australia


Global Production Networks (GPNs), are ‘the globally organised nexus of interconnected functions and operations by firms and non-firm institutions through which goods and services are produced and distributed’ (Coe et al. 2004). A benefit of a GPN approach it that it forces a traversal of ‘different actors and spatialities of production’ (Coe et al 2014) rather than a single dimension of economic transaction, knowledge flow or power relationship; or the concentration on a pre-defined macro (regional/city) or micro (organisational) level of analysis. Moreover, a GPN approach purports to be simultaneously a theory of spatial economic conduct as well as a framework for guiding empirical investigation across a field of conjoint processes.


Yet GPN theorising has drawn criticism from some scholars who argue that the concept spans too many levels and risks including “just about everything and [therefore] lacks analytical boundaries and clarity” (Sunley et al. 2008). Others have pointed to its lack of analytical and predictive power, arguing that it can be difficult to explain why certain relationships in the network become more significant than others, and how this imbalance might be measured (Yeung and Coe 2015). There are also questions about the politics of GPN with matters to do with exploitation, discrimination and sustainability easily by-passed.


The session is designed to assess the extent to which a GPN approach is robust as a theoretical, heuristic or political framework. Papers which explore or critically analyse GPN approaches, including those demonstrating its enactment, are welcome.



Coe, N.; K.P. Lai; and D. Wojcik. 2014. Integrating finance into global production networks, Networks, Regional Studies, 48:761-777.

Sunley, P.; S. Pinch; S. Reimer; and J. Macmillen. 2008. Innovation in a creative production system: the case of design, Journal of Economic Geography, 8:675-698.

Yeung, H. and N. Coe. 2015. Toward a dynamic theory of global production networks, Economic Geography 91:29-58.