Call for papers: special issue of Articulo – Journal of Urban Research, on “Inconspicuous Globalization”

Deadline: 30 April 2015 - 12:00am


This issue aims to shed light on the less visible places where complex economic, social and spatial dynamics are entangled. These inconspicuous spaces are often “off the map”, located in marginal regions, distant from heavily trafficked roads, far from global cities and main marketplaces, and unfrequented by major companies and investors. However, in such places, transnational exchanges, active but not very formalized and often poorly quantified, can be observed; interesting and unusual forms of globalization take place; a multitude of actors, professional and casual, local and international, more or less visible, travel. These embedded dynamics and actors are difficult to grasp, and concepts such as “from below” or “informal” are no longer sufficient to explain and analyse this process. Following a spatial approach, this issue attempts to demonstrate that these inconspicuous places are strategic to understanding contemporary globalization and its new global impacts on the margins of the world.

These disparate places form a shadow archipelago, constructed through invisible transnational connections. Their relationships to other places and scales are structured along less accessed paths, even for the stakeholders who operate in these regions. Such roads and links go beyond the North-South divide, and reflect the growth of trade between the BRICs, including China, and regions of the world hitherto marginalized in world trade. This special issue will highlight these new social and territorial networks which connect almost all parts of the world, at both local and global level.

The inconspicuous spaces of globalization often fuel urban growth and the creation of new urban centres in the form of secondary cities, new districts within cities or connected to cities. A wholesale market where products “made in China” are traded, stored or sold is an instance of this phenomenon. Another example could be the places where knowledge and know-how are designed, traded, recycled or outsourced.

This special issue aims to explore these understudied places and roads, and focus on the way they appear or disappear, where they are visible – in city centres, urban fringes or rural areas. Attention could be given to the complex links between private and public action which seek to regulate, control or eradicate them. We invite theoretical, conceptual, or empirical contributions addressing the links between spatial, social and economic dynamics in the margins of the world, such as:

– Secondary cities and small urban places involved in globalization;
– Wholesale marketplaces and warehouses;
– Emergent roads or networks;
– Low tech places of production and networks of exportation;
– Urban markets for migrants


We welcome abstracts of 250 words (in English) along with the title of your proposed paper and the names/affiliation of author/s no later than April 30, 2015. Please send inquiries and abstracts to: [email protected] and [email protected]. Further proceedings: proposed deadline for the full papers (in English): August 30, 2015. Double blind reviews and paper revisions: September to November 2015. Final online publication: end of December 2015.

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