Network and the Hierarchy of the Cities in the Global World: Challenge to Nation-States and Limits of the Expansion

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-6-57-66

V. Mart'yanov (,
Institute of Philosophy and Law, Russian Academy of Sciences (Ural Branch), 16, S. Kovalevskoi Str., Ekaterinburg 620990, Russian Federation 


Due to ongoing partial demise and transformations of nation-states, the cities and urban networks which were constitutive for political and economic order of the early Modernity restore themselves as an important element of global or late Modernity institutional system. Significant trends of global development, social institutes and images of the future within the centre-periphery model are rather determined by political, economic and cultural realities of urban networks than that of nation-states. At the same time, an urban network is constituted as an aggregation of places which accumulate achievements and disadvantages of globalization that distributes megapolises not only as nodes of a network, but also as levels in hierarchical spaces. On the one hand, post-industrial global cities concentrate the creative class, world finances, expertise and governance that enables them to determine priorities of social development. But the degree of their emancipation from national contexts has limits due to their focus on organizing and supporting financial, information and service segments of the global market. Start requirements to become a part of this network are unachievable for the majority of urban centers in the world. They face different problems related to agendas of survival, modernization and diversification of major enterprises and economic branches. On the other hand, both the biggest and growing megapolises of the capitalist world-system periphery and industrial cities of its centre demonstrate enlargement without development and accumulate unsolved social problems. The article posits that within a growing hierarchization and differentiation of the world urban networks which distribute advantages in the cities of post-industrial core and allocate disadvantages in periphery, the new development factor is delegation of resources, functions and responsibility from nation-states to the level of big cities and urban networks. It is proposed that the increase of an urban autonomy will raise the effectiveness of the urban development daily problems solution, given that cities have a richer potential to become successful locomotives of development than nation-states and their agents. 


megapolis, global city, urban network, urbanization, nation-state, inequality, post-industrial society, World-Economy, local political regime 


1. Demographia World Urban Areas. 11th Annual Edition: January 2015. Available at: (accessed 04.04.2016).

2. 2014 Revision of the World Urbanization Prospects. Available at: (accessed 04.04.2016).

3. Spruyt H. The Sovereign State and Its Competitors. An Analysis of Systems Change. Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 1994. 288 p.

4. Pankevich N. V. Territorial’naya organizatsiya politicheskogo prostranstva: v poiskakh al’ternativ [The Territorial Organization of Political Space: Searching for Alternatives]. Nauchnyi ezhegodnik Instituta filosofii i prava UrO RAN, 2009, no. 9, pp. 275-289.

5. Sassen S. Gorod kak prizma dlya sotsial’noi teorii: novye issledovatel’skie perspektivy [The City: Its Return as a Lens for Social Theory]. Nauchnyi ezhegodnik Instituta filosofii i prava UrO RAN, 2013, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 74-100.

6. Pankevich N. Megapolisy v poiskakh suvereniteta [Megacities in Search of Svereignty]. Svobodnaya mysl’, 2009, no. 11, pp. 85-98.

7. Friedman T. The World is Flat. US: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005. 488 p.

8. Sassen S. Globalization or Denationalization? Review of International Political Economy, February 2003, no. 10 (1), pp. 1-22.

9. Mann M., Riley D. Makroregional’nye tendentsii neravenstva global’nogo raspredeleniya dokhoda (1950–2000). [Macro-Regional Trends in Global Income Distribution Inequality (1950–2000)]. Prognozis, 2009, no. 2, pp. 72-108.

10. Shevchuk A. V. Postfordistskie kontseptsii (kriticheskii analiz) [Post-Fordist Concept (the Critical Analysis)]. Kazan’, 2000. 81 p. Available at: (accessed 04.04.2016).

11. Rossiya i mir v 2020 godu [Russia and the World in 2020]. Moscow, Evropa, 2005. 226 p.

12. Sluka N. Global’nye goroda. [Global Cities]. Ekspert, 2008, no. 15 (604). Available at: (accessed 04.04.2016).

13. Statistical OECD Website. Available at: (accessed 04.04.2016).

14. Therborn G. Kak ponyat’ goroda: sovremennyi krizis i ideya gorodov bez gosudarstva. [How to Understand the City: the Current Crisis and the Idea of Cities Without a State]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsial’noi antropologii, 2013, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 20-40.

15. Sassen S. The Global City. Princeton and Oxford, Princeton University Press, 1991. 480 p.

16. Friedmann J. The World City Hypothesis. World Cities in a World-System. Knox P.L., Taylor P.J., eds. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1995, pp. 317-330.

17. Taylor P. J. World Cities and Territorial States: the Rise and Fall of Their Mutuality. World Cities in a World-System. Knox P.L., Taylor P.J., eds. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1995, pp. 48-62.

18. Gordon I. Capital Needs, Capital Growth and Global City Rhetoric in Mayor Livingstone’s London Plan. GaWC Research Bulletin, 2004, no. 145. Available at: (accessed 04.04.2016).

19. Mollenkopf J.-H., Castells M. Dual City: Restructuring. New York, Russell Sage Foundation, 1991. 492 p.

20. OECD Territorial Reviews: Competitive Cities in the Global Economy. OECD Publishing, 2006. 446 p.

21. Devis M. Planeta trushchob [Planet of Slums]. Logos, 2008, no. 3, pp. 108-129.

22. United Nations: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 04.04.2016).

23. Grinin L.E., Korotaev A. V. Urbanizatsiya i politicheskaya nestabil’nost’: k razrabotke matematicheskikh modelei politicheskikh protsessov [Urbanization and Political Instability: Towards Developing Mathematical Models of Political Processes]. POLIS. Political Studies, 2009, no. 4, pp. 34-52.

24. Standing G. The Precariat. The New Dangerous Class. London, Bloomsbury Academic, 2011. 198 p.

25. Harvey D. Pravo na gorod [Right to the City]. Logos, 2008, no. 3, pp. 80-94.

26. Wendell Cox. World Megacities: Densities Fall as they Become Larger. Available at: (accessed 04.04.2016).

27. Il’chenko M.S., Mart’yanov V.S., eds. Postfordizm: kontseptsii, instituty, praktiki [Post-Fordism: Concepts, Institutions, Practices]. Moscow, Politicheskaya entsiklopediya, 2015. 280 p.

28. The World Bank. 2014. Global Economic Prospects, vol. 8. January 2014. World Bank, Washington. Available at: (accessed 04.04.2016).

29. 2014: Global Cities Index and Emerging Cities Outlook. Available at: (accessed 04.04.2016).

30. Landry Ch. Kreativnyi gorod [Creative City]. Moscow, Izdatel’skii dom “Klassika-XXI”, 2011. 399 p. 

Registered in system SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Mart'yanov V. Network and the Hierarchy of the Cities in the Global World: Challenge to Nation-States and Limits of the Expansion. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2017, vol. 61, No 6, pp. 57-66.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment

Current Issue
Submit an Article

Dear readers!
Please note that free access to full-text issues of the Journal is being opened at our WEB-site after 6 months of the date of publications. Currently, the releases of 2015–2018 are available for free. The work on deepening the open archive of full-text issues will be continued.

Dear readers!
This is to inform the researchers of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations that electronic version of the 4-nd issue of 2019 of French magazine Politique étrangère is now available. Those who are interested, please personally address to the editorial staff of MEMO Journal (room 18-17) with an electronic media (e-mailing is not possible because of technical reasons).


In response to the challenges of our time the Editorial board continues to open new thematic rubrics:

“The Common Spaces”. The XX century was marked by the process of active development of the so-called common spaces, namely the World ocean, outer space and the Internet which, due to various reasons, were previously perceived as peripheral for the mankind and were not used at all or less intensively. Since then, the degree of their development and usage is constantly increasing. Even though the prospects of obtaining material dividends from their use are often extremely remote, the level of competition there is steadily increasing, resulting in growing inter-state conflicts’ potential.

“Silk Road and prospects of Great Eurasia”. It is planned to publish materials concerning the Chinese project of Silk Road and its impact on the socio-economic development of various countries in Eurasia and the integration processes in this mega-region.

“Africa today and tomorrow”The rubric devoted to contemporary issues of Africa which is attracting growing interest of the world's leading actors. We plan to publish the articles analyzing the status of statehood, socio-economic and political development of the countries of Black continent, as well as the integration processes between them.

“Civilization processes of modern development” is a new rubric opened by MEMO Journal in 2020. It will be devoted to the analysis of the influence of civilizational factors and inter-civilizational interactions on the political and socio-economic development of the world at whole, regions and countries.

Dear colleagues, authors and readers!

We kindly request you to turn to editor-in-chief and executive secretary directly concerning reviewing scientific publications in our journal. Only editor-in-chief takes decision on order and publication the reviews!


"World Eonomy and International Relations" announces a contest for the best joint academic publications of domestic and foreign researchers and experts in topical issues of the world economy and international relations. The winners will be selected according to the results of peer reviewing and discussion at the Editorial Board. The articles will be published in priority order.


The print version of “World Economy and International Relations” journal is distributed by advance subscription only, and is not offered for retail sale. To subscribe please address to any post office in Russia by referring to the Federal Postal Service Union Catalogue, section “ARSMI”, the journal index is 70542. The subscription may be made for the whole subscription period or starting from any nearest available month for desired number of issues.

To purchase the full-text electronic version of the journal’s issue/article please address to the WEB portal of Scientific electronic library or URL:

In journal
                     Articles by year
                     Authors by year
2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 |

The author’s opinions may not coincide with the position of editorial