Globalization, the geopolitical economy of migration and the ‘spatial vent’

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Despite a rapidly expanding literature in the last decade, the question of migration remains a neglected area of research in IPE, global political economy and political geography. In addressing this deficiency, this article seeks to contribute to the growing debate over the links between ‘globalization’, IPE and the geopolitical economy of migration. Rather than the more ‘traditional’ focus of IPE, I attempt to integrate different political- economic scales of analysis (from the regional to the international). Drawing upon an analysis of North African (Maghrebin) migrant workers in the Paris automobile industry, I argue that, first, globalization needs to be placed in historical context in terms of the international/global political economy of migration. Second, I maintain the need to understand migration as a strategic issue within international political economy. Third, I argue that the national state is still relevant as a geopolitical economic ‘lens’ on the contemporary globalization of migration. And fourth, I suggest the presence of what I call a ‘spatial vent’. This describes the forced and/or encouraged repatriation of migrant workers to partially diffuse threats to accumulation and legitimation generated by reconciling economic imperatives (industrial and labour market restructuring) with the political, social and Cultural priorities of the French state (French ‘republicanism’ and ‘universalism’). The ‘spatial vent’ is considered to be one means of grasping the territoriality of capitalism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-199
Number of pages34
JournalReview of International Political Economy
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1999


  • French automobile industry
  • Globalization
  • International political economy
  • Maghreb
  • Migration
  • spatial vent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


Dive into the research topics of 'Globalization, the geopolitical economy of migration and the ‘spatial vent’'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this