Acuto, M. (2010). Global Cities: Gorillas in Our Midst. Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 35(4), 425–448.

An important piece on global cities as new arenas and scales in which global governance is ‘practiced’ in a landscape of globalization and urbanization. Global cities provide leadership positions, technological innovation and social revolution. They add to the “complexity of global landscapes of political, economic, and cultural interactions and connect micro political processes with macro trends and relations”. They are, in effect, agents in world affairs.

Global cities are not homogenous entities. They entail a plethora of urban actors, who “contribute to decision-making processes, with coalitions, oppositions, lobbying activities, and political participation in city government” (428). This is an important distinction for my own research, as I will need to show or at least articulate, the notion that cities embody a collective of actors with varying interests and power.

Acuto argues that when states interact with sub-state actors in negotiations, it is not necessarily a loss of sovereignty for the state. Instead, this sovereignty is “reconfigured”. Inclusion of such actors illustrates how negotiations “occur across multiple scales and in countless political arenas” (440). This is interesting for my own research, which will aim to uncover the role that sub-state actors play in negotiations, or whether transnational networks of urban actors play a role in changing how transboundary water resources are governed.

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