Saskia Sassen

Professor of Sociology

Columbia University

Saskia Sassen's research and writing focuses on globalization (including social, economic and political dimensions), immigration, global cities (including cities and terrorism), the new networked technologies, and changes within the liberal state that result from current transnational conditions. Her three major books have each sought to demolish a key established "truth," and her work has been translated into sixteen languages.

In her first book, The Mobility of Labor and Capital (Cambridge University Press 1988), she showed how foreign investment in less developed countries can actually raise the likelihood of emigration; this went against established notions that such investment would retain potential emigrants.  In her second book, The Global City (Princeton University Press 1991; 2nd ed 2002), she showed how the global economy, far from being placeless, has and needs very specific territorial insertions, and that this need is sharpest in the case of highly globalized and electronic sectors such as finance; this went against established notions at the time that the global economy transcended territory and its associated regulatory umbrellas. In her most recent book, Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages (Princeton University Press 2006; 2nd ed. 2008), she shows that the foundational transformations afoot today take place largely inside core and thick national environments; this allows her to explain that some of the changes inside liberal states, most evident in the USA -- but also increasingly in other countries -- are not distortions or anomalies, but are the result of these foundational transformations inside the state apparatus.