Reconsidering the Role of the Digital in Global Production Networks
Global Networks, Forthcoming
22 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2016
Date Written: April 13, 2016
Global production networks (GPN) has become a key framework in conceptualising linkages, power and structure in globalised production. However, this framework has been less successful in integrating the influence of digital information and ICTs in production, and this problematic in a world where relationships and power are increasingly mediated by digital information flows and resources.
We thus look to adapt the GPN framework to allow more substantive analysis of ‘the digital’. Primarily this is done through a theoretical analysis of the three core categories of the GPN framework – embeddedness, value and networks – to highlight how these categories can better integrate a more dynamic and contested conceptualisation of the digital. Illustrations from research on the digitalization of tea sector GPNs in East Africa highlight how these theoretical advances provide new insights on the digital and its expanding role in economic production.
Keywords: Global Production Networks, Information and Communication Technology, Internet, Network Society, Sub-Saharan Africa
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