Global shifts in contemporary times: the changing trajectories of steel towns in China, Germany and the United Kingdom

Ray Hudson, Dan Swanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

At one level, this paper centres on the closure of a steel plant in Germany, the closure and then reprieve of another in the UK and the expansion of a third in China, but at another level this changing geography of steel production can be seen as symptomatic of and symbolizing profound changes in the global manufacturing economy. The closures at Dortmund (permanently) and Redcar/south Teesside (temporarily) both reflected the growing international - not to say global - restructuring of the steel industry and the strategies that steel-producing companies adopted in the face of profound changes in markets and patterns of production and trade. To that extent, at first sight this might appear to be a familiar and not unexpected outcome of those processes. However, the outcomes both at local level and for the steel plants themselves turned out to be very different because they reflected the complexity of global processes and the interacting effects of many influences operating at different spatial scales within the complex social relations of capital. Not least this was because the closure in Dortmund and the ending of steel-making there were directly implicated in a major expansion of steel production in China, by Shagang in Jiangsu Province, via the transfer of a major steel complex, disassembled in Dortmund and reassembled in Jinfeng. The disassembly of a major production complex, its transport to the other side of the world and its reassembly there as functional fixed capital added a dramatic and radical new twist to the meaning of global shift.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-19
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Urban and Regional Studies
Issue number1
Early online date16 Nov 2011
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • China
  • disassembly
  • globalization
  • plant closure
  • relocation
  • steel


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