Globalization as a process has developed exponentially over the past 20 years, generating multiple and opposite effects for local and regional development (LoRD). This has created both new opportunities as well as raising new threats for local actors, both public and private. This special issue sets out to consider the prospects for LoRD in this context. Our aim in the introductory article is to consider how globalization may bring about LoRD. We do this through a comparative review of three critical analytical frameworks that have been used in recent years to examine the changing dynamics of globalization and their consequences for local production systems, namely global value chains, global production networks and global innovation networks. We provide an overview of these distinct approaches, identifying their strengths and weaknesses. Our argument is not that any one of these approaches is necessarily “better” than the others, but rather that to formulate a more complete and dynamic territorial perspective on regional development in the context of globalization, there needs to be an attempt at (eclectically) integrating the elements of these three distinct frameworks. The article then goes on to show how individual contributions in this special issue push forward this agenda, drawing on these distinct analytical frameworks to consider the transformative prospects for LoRD.