Saskia Sassen

is the Ralph Lewis Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago, and entennial Visiting Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics. Her most recent publications include: Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages, Princeton University Press 2006; and Denationalization: Territory, Authority and Rights, Princeton University Press 2005, based on her five year project on governance and accountability in a global economy. Her other works include: Guests and Aliens, New York: New Press 1999; and her edited book Global Networks/Linked Cities, New York and London: Routledge 2002. The Global City came out in a new fully updated edition in 2001. Sassen’s books have been translated into twelve languages. She is co-director of the Economy Section of the Global Chicago Project, a Member of the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Cities, a Member of the Council of Foreign Relations, and Chair of the newly formed Information Technology, International Cooperation and Global Security Committee of the SSRC.


Data strikes back

Interactions of the technical and the social

Digital formations of the powerful and the powerless

Saskia Sassen compares the impact of two kinds of socio-technical formations on the public sphere: electronic capitalist elites concentrated in global cities and globally networked, local social activist movements. Both have the power to transform existing political and economic systems.

Still of Hilary Koob-Sassen artwork

Urbanizing non-urban economies

Ports, mines, plantations

Far more than in the past, urban space today registers the profitability of non-urban economies – the economy of the port, the mine, the plantation. Why and how? The key is the rise of intermediate services for firms: all firms today need more lawyers, accountants, insurance, and financial and consulting services than they did even 30 years ago. Thus a dynamic port will feed the growth of a very urbane professional class in whatever the major city servicing the port. Clearly, urban economies – professional services, design industries – also contribute to reshape urban space.

Denationalized states and global assemblages

An interview with Saskia Sassen

“The liberal state has been hijacked for neoliberal agendas,” says Saskia Sassen in interview, and in some cases even for “very modern despotisms”. It is necessary to repossess the state apparatus for genuine liberal democracy, and ideally to create a “denationalized state”.

The global laissez-passer: a US passport

An interview with Saskia Sassen

When Columbian soldiers were threatening to kill her, Saskia Sassen desperately hung on to her American passport. She acted then as an unquestioning member of a world order she usually criticises, one in which some passports provide freedom of access and others do not. Edda Manga has been talking with Saskia Sassen about “cheap politics” and the deconstruction of patriotism.

"Global is Not Always Cosmopolite"

An Interview with Saskia Sassen, by Nina Fürstenberg.

Saskia Sassen on the distinctions between television, internet and the different social relationships they involve.

Is this the way to go?

Handling immigration in a global era

As Europe’s borders become more and more fortified against immigrants, illegal human trafficking becomes ever more common. By criminalizing immigration, Europe not only ignores a moral problem: it hits those hardest who are desperate enough to escape their home countries and contributes to the enormous profits that smugglers make in the process. Saskia Sassen asks what price Europe is paying for these shortsighted and unsustainable policies.

Arbeit ohne Grenzen

Migration und Staatssouveränität

Im Vorfeld des Europa-Gipfels in Nizza beschwört EU-Kommissar Antonio Vitorino die Mitgliedsländer, die “Null-Einwanderungs-Politik der letzten 20 Jahre” sei nicht mehr durchzuhalten, weshalb man eine “Politik der Öffnung” einleiten müsse. Was in Europa jedoch neuerdings betrieben wird, ist eine Politik der Selektion. Man umwirbt die an indischen oder marokkanischen Universitäten hervorragend ausgebildeten Fachkräfte. Einige wenige “Unerwünschte”, die es eher zufällig trifft, werden in die Heimat zurückverfrachtet, während der große Rest vor Ort unerträgliche Arbeitsbedingungen hinnehmen muss. Der verstärkte Druck gegen illegale Einwanderer zeugt von der panischen Angst der politisch Verantwortlichen, die Zuwanderungsströme nicht mehr kontrollieren zu können. Die Staaten und ihre Regierungen sollten aber erkennen, dass sie mit der Unterzeichnung zahlreicher internationaler Wirtschaftsabkommen und Menschenrechtsvereinbarungen entscheidend zur Globalisierung der Arbeit beigetragen haben.

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