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On Conceptual Confusion in Empirical Analyses of a Transnational Urban Network

Ben Derudder
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Ben Derudder: Department, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281/S8, Gent, B9000 Belgium, ben.derudder@ugent.be

Urban Studies, 2006, vol. 43, issue 11, 2027-2046

Abstract: A number of researchers have recently tried to map the contours of a transnational urban network. Although these empirical studies have great merits in making a closer connection to theoretical ideas on a genuine urban network, they sometimes fail to recognise that the whole idea of cities as 'nodes' in a transnational urban network is a heuristic at best. To assess this underdeveloped analytical connection, a taxonomy of dominant empirical and theoretical approaches is constructed. Contrasting both taxonomies reveals a mismatch between theory and measurement. This mismatch is addressed in more detail through four separate but entwined examples of conceptual conflation: a lack of rigour in the employed terminologies; inappropriate discussions of results against the background of other concepts; the inadequate delineation of the urban area; and, the limited analytical value of infrastructure-based analyses.

Date: 2006
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