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GPN working paper

This working paper is part of the Global Production Networks working paper series

"Spatial" relationships? Towards a re-conceptualisation of embeddedness

Martin Hess


The concept of embeddedness has gained much prominence in economic geography over the last decade, as much work has been done on the social and organisational foundations of economic activities and regional development. Unlike the original conceptualisations, however, embeddedness is mostly conceived of as a ‘spatial’ concept related to the local and regional levels of analysis. By re-visiting the early literature on embeddedness – in particular the seminal work of Karl Polanyi and Mark Granovetter - and critically engaging with what I will call an ‘overterritorialised’ concept, a different view on the fundamental categories of embeddedness is proposed. This re-conceptualisation then is illustrated using the post-structuralist metaphor of a rhizome to interpret the notion of embeddedness and its applicability on different geographical scales.

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