The Spatial Organization of the World as Seen by Air Traffic Networks

Special Report: Lands and Communications
By Nadine Cattan

This paper studies the dynamic of the world space organization through the international air passenger flows during the two last decades. Thanks to their relatively fast capacity to adjust with supply and demand, the air networks are very relevant indicators of globalization. While placing this work in a relational approach of territories, the objective is to analyze the world space in terms of linkages and interdependences in order to highlight the various modes of its spatial integration. This study tries to go beyond certain too static images of the world that reduces it to a hierarchy of poles where only wealth production processes are taken into account. Research avenues are also proposed to modify the truncated but commonly carried representations of world space. The opening is made mainly in direction of an integration in the thoughts of the places and the linkages of the Southern hemisphere which are invisible in a majority of the world system studies.


  • world
  • network
  • air flows
  • relational logic
  • integration
  • organization
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