By Erik Swyngedouw, 2004


This paper argues that the alleged process of globalisation should be recast as a process of ‘glocalisation’. ‘Glocalisation’ refers to the twin process whereby, firstly, institutional/regulatory arrangements shift from the national scale both upwards to supra-national or global scales and downwards to the scale of the individual body or to local, urban or regional configurations and, secondly, economic activities and inter-firm networks are becoming simultaneously more localised/regionalised and transnational. In particular, attention will be paid to the political and economic dynamics of this
geographical rescaling and its implications. The scales of economic networks and institutional arrangements are recast in ways that alter social power geometries in important ways. This contribution, therefore, argues, first, that an important discursive shift took place over the last decade or so which is an integral part of an intensifying ideological, political, socioeconomic and cultural struggle over the organisation of society and the position of the citizen. Secondly, the pre-eminence of the ‘global’ in much of the literature and political rhetoric obfuscates, marginalizes and silences an intense and
ongoing socio-spatial struggle in which the reconfiguration of spatial scale is a key arena. Third, both the scales of economic flows and networks and those of territorial governance are rescaled through a process of ‘glocalisation’, and, finally, the proliferation of new modes and forms of resistance to the restless process of de-territorialisation/re-territorialisation of capital requires greater attention to engaging a ‘politics of scale’. In the final part, attention will be paid to the potentially empowering possibilities of a politics that is sensitive to these scale issues.