Postcolonial Perspectives on Global Production Networks: Insights from Flower Valley in South Africa

A. Hughes, C. McEwan, David Bek

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)
    37 Downloads (Pure)


    This paper proposes dialogue between postcolonial theory and the analytical frameworks of global value chains (GVCs) and global production networks (GPNs). It does so in order to open up more culturally sensitive accounts of global supply networks and exporting localities than those provided by prevailing political-economic approaches. Particular focus is placed on Zein-Elabdin's postcolonial notion of economic hybridity to advance understanding of the institutional contexts shaping production networks. The value of applying this concept to GVC/GPN studies is illustrated in the case of a sustainable wildflower harvesting supply network in South Africa's Western Cape, which supplies ethically promoted bouquets to domestic and European markets. Transnational cultural politics, including those associated with colonial encounters, are shown to shape the hybrid institutional context of this production network. It is suggested that such a perspective on institutional hybridity offers just one fruitful conversation between postcolonial approaches and GVC/GPN frameworks.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)249-266
    JournalEnvironment and Planning A
    Issue number2
    Early online date1 Jan 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


    • global production networks
    • global value chains
    • postcolonial theory
    • South Africa


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