Saskia Sassen: Wikis


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Saskia Sassen

Saskia Sassen (born January 5, 1947) is an American sociologist noted for her analyses of globalization and international human migration. She is currently, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and Centennial visiting Professor at the London School of Economics. Sassen coined the term global city. She is married to the sociologist Richard Sennett.


Family and early life

Sassen grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where her parents Willem Sassen and Miep van der Voort moved in 1950. She also spent a part of her youth in Italy and says she was "brought up in five languages."[1]


From 1966, Sassen spent a year each at the Université de Poitiers, France, the Università degli Studi di Roma, and the Universidad de Buenos Aires, for studies in philosophy and political science. From 1969, Sassen studied sociology and economics at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, where she obtained M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in 1971 and 1974, respectively. In addition, she obtained a French master's degree in philosophy in Poitiers in 1974.


In The Mobility of Labor and Capital, Sassen explores recent human migrations and attempts to elaborate a theoretical framework that will clarify the causes of human migration. Central to her argument is the concept that the need for capital re-composition during a crisis of accumulation entails a corresponding re-composition of labor. In other words, when capitalist corporations are unable to sustain a sufficient level of surplus extraction, they are forced to re-organize the productive process in order to maintain levels of profitability and necessarily causing great spatial shift in the arrangement of labor (human migration). This could include disciplining labor by breaking the strength of industrial unions, producing technological innovations that cut the costs of production (by lowering the dependence on labor, deskilling labor, or increasing the speed of production), or finding alternative sources of labor. This final strategy includes both the attraction of immigrant labor from the global periphery to the industrialized world to serve as workers as well as the physical decentralization of industrial production to Export Processing Zones (EPZs) in the periphery. The strategy of these EPZs is that they tend to employ young women who were previously unwaged workers because they are the most docile form of labor. The social result of this productive arrangement is higher unemployment for men as well as a disruption of "traditional" ways of social reproduction, leading to an increasing pool of potential workers who are "rootless" and oriented ideologically to Western consumer culture.

Academic posts

After being a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, Sassen held various academic positions both in and outside the USA, such as the Ralph Lewis Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago. She is currently Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and Centennial Visiting Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Sassen emerged as a prolific author in urban sociology. She studied the impacts of globalisation such as economic restructuring, and how the movements of labour and capital influence urban life. She also studied the influence of communication technology on governance. Sassen observed how nation states begin to lose power to control these developments, and she studied increasing general transnationalism, including transnational human migration. She identified and described the phenomenon of the global city. Her 1991 book bearing this title quickly made her a frequently quoted author on globalisation worldwide. A revised and updated edition of her book was published in 2001. She currently (2006) is pursuing her research and writing on immigration and globalization, with her "denationalization" and "transnationalism" projects (see Bibliography and External Links, below). Sassen's books have been translated into 21 languages.


Authored books

  • Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages (Princeton: Princeton University Press, May 2006) ISBN 0-691-09538-8. Awards for TAR: Winner of the 2007, Distinguished Book Award, Political Economy of the World-System Section, by ASA; Winner of the 2007 Robert Jervis and Paul Schroeder Best Book Award, International History and Politics section, by APSA
  • Elements for a Sociology of Globalization [or A Sociology of Globalization] (W.W. Norton, 2007) ISBN 0-393-92726-1.
  • Cities in a world economy (Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Pine Forge Press, 2006) updated 3rd ed., original 1994; Series: Sociology for a new century, ISBN 1-4129-3680-2.
  • The global city : New York, London, Tokyo (Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2001) updated 2d ed., original 1991; ISBN 0-691-07063-6.
  • Guests and aliens (New York: New Press, 1999) ISBN 1-56584-608-7.
  • Globalization and its discontents. Essays on the New Mobility of People and Money (New York: New Press, 1998), ISBN 1-56584-518-8.
  • Losing control? Sovereignty in An Age of Globalization (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996) Series : University seminars — Leonard Hastings Schoff memorial lectures, ISBN 0-231-10608-4.
  • The Mobility of Labor and Capital. A Study in International Investment and Labor Flow (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988) ISBN 0-521-38672-1.
  • The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991) 1st ed. ISBN 0-691-07063-6.

Edited books

  • Digital Formations: IT and New Architectures in the Global Realm, eds. Robert Latham and Saskia Sassen (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005) ISBN 0-691-11986-4, ISBN 0-691-11987-2.
  • Global networks, linked cities, ed. Saskia Sassen (New York : Routledge, 2002) ISBN 0-415-93162-2, ISBN 0-415-93163-0.

Book chapters

  • "Electronic markets and activist networks: The weight of social logics in digital formations", in Digital Formations: IT and New Architectures in the Global Realm, eds. Robert Latham and Saskia Sassen (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005) ISBN 0-691-11986-4, ISBN 0-691-11987-2, p. 54-88.
  • "Beyond sovereignty: de facto transnationalism in immigration policy", in eds. Friedmann, Jonathan and Randeria, Shalini, Worlds on the move : globalization, migration, and cultural security (London ; New York : Tauris 2004) xix, 372 p., 24 см, Series : Toda institute book series on global peace and policy 6, ISBN 1-86064-951-3.
  • "Mediating practices : women with/in cyberspace", in eds. John Armitage and Joanne Roberts, Living with cyberspace : technology & society in the 21st century (London : Athlone ; New York : Continuum, 2002) viii, 203 p., ISBN 0-485-00444-5, ISBN 0-485-00636-7, ISBN 0-8264-6035-6, ISBN 0-8264-6036-4.


  • "The repositioning of citizenship and alienage: Emergent subjects and spaces for politics", Globalizations, volume 2, number 1, (2005), p. 79-94.
  • "Regulating Immigration in a Global Age: A New Policy Landscape", Parallax, volume 11, number 1 (2005), p. 35-45.

"What happens when we look at the history of immigration for clues about what is a constraint and what is a possibility? Historical demography shows us that all European societies have incorporated foreign immigrant groups and that it has often taken no more than a few generations to turn them into a community that can experience solidarity..."

  • "Going Beyond the National State in the USA: The Politics of Minoritized Groups in Global Cities", Diogenes, volume 51, number 3 (2004), p. 59-65.
"Yesterday's attack brings home the fact that we cannot hide behind our peace and prosperity. The evidence has been growing but our leaders did not want to see it. The horrors of wars and deaths far away in the global south do not register. But missile shields cannot protect us. Powerful states cannot fully escape bricolage terrorism, nail bombs, elementary nuclear devices, and homemade biological weapons.
"The attacks are a language of last resort: the oppressed and persecuted have used many languages to reach us so far, but we seem unable to translate the meaning. So a few have taken the personal responsibility to speak in a language that needs no translation.
"The growth of debt and unemployment, and the decline of traditional economic sectors, has fed an illegal trade in people..."
"...the debate about whether or not to allow the entry of foreign hi-tech workers is but one element of a far broader and more fundamental reconfiguring of specialised labour markets under the impact of economic globalisation."
  • "Women's burden : counter-geographies of globalization and the feminization of survival", Journal of international affairs, [New York], volume 53, number 2, p. 504-524, 2000, ISSN 0022-197X.
  • Cities : between global actors and local conditions (College Park, MD. : Urban Studies and Planning Program, University of Maryland, c1999) "The 1997 Lefrak monograph".
  • "Beyond Sovereignty: De-Facto Transnationalism in Immigration Policy", in European Journal of Migration and Law, volume 1, p. 177-198, 1999; also published as The De-facto Transnationalizing of Immigration Policy (Florence: Robert Schuman Centre at the European University Institute, 1996).
  • "Global financial centers", in Foreign affairs, [New York], volume 78, number 1, p. 75-87, 1999, ISSN 0015-7120.
  • The De-facto Transnationalizing of Immigration Policy (Florence: Robert Schuman Centre at the European University Institute, 1996); [also published as "Beyond Sovereignty: De-Facto Transnationalism in Immigration Policy", in European Journal of Migration and Law, volume 1, 1999, p. 177-198.]
  • Transnational economies and national migration policies (Amsterdam : Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, University of Amsterdam, 1996) ISBN 90-5589-038-3.
  • "Analytic borderlands : race, gender and representation in the new city", in ed. King, Anthony D., Re-presenting the city : ethnicity, capital, and culture in the 21st-century metropolis (New York : New York University Press, 1996) p. 183-202, ISBN 0-8147-4678-0, ISBN 0-8147-4679-9.
  • [with Morita, Kiriro], "The New illegal immigration in Japan 1980-1992", in The international migration review (New York : Center for Migration Studies, 1994), volume 28, number 1, p. 153-163, ISSN 0197-9183.
  • [with Smith, Robert] Post-industrial employment and third world immigration : casualization and the New Mexican migration in New York (New York, N.Y. : Columbia University, Institute of Latin American and Iberian Studies, 1991) Series : Papers on Latin America #26.
  • New York City's informal economy (Los Angeles, Calif. : University of California Los Angeles, Institute for Social Science Research, [1988?]) Series : ISSR working papers in the social sciences, 1988–89, volume 4, number 9.


  • [as Sassen-Koob, Saskia] Non-dominant ethnic populations as a possible component of the U.S. political economy : the case of blacks and Chicanos (Dissertation, Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 1974).
  • [as Sassen-Koob, Saskia] Social stratification, ethnicity and ideology : Anglos and Chicanos in the United States (Thesis, M.A., University of Notre Dame, 1971).


See also

External links


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