Locating local knowledge in global networks: Scouting in fashion and football

Asaf Darr, Ashley Mears

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How do market actors search for and source local knowledge in global commercial networks? We investigate the origins of local knowledge by studying the work practices of scouts in two comparative global trades: fashion modelling and football. Based on ethnographic and interview data, we find that scouts depend upon local knowledge at both the periphery and the core of their trade networks. To source local knowledge, they engage in two key activities. The first is ‘relational work’, the bridging of physical distances across networks by building ties with potential exchange partners. Scouts also engage in ‘recognition work’ as they hone expertise to identify raw skill in remote locations and match it to shifting trends at the networks’ core. This study finds that distinct forms of relational and recognition work are employed to identify and source local knowledge at the network's periphery and core. We conclude that given the centrality of sourcing local knowledge, scouts will remain central in global commerce.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • Global networks
  • Local knowledge
  • Recognition work
  • Relational work
  • Scouting
  • Talent search
  • Trade networks

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


Dive into the research topics of 'Locating local knowledge in global networks: Scouting in fashion and football'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this