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Centre on Labour and Global Production (CLGP)

 

The Centre on Labour and Global Production (CLGP) draws upon a critical mass of researchers across different disciplinary areas at Queen Mary University of London who are engaged in research on the changing position of workers, labour and regulation in the world economy. We understand the world economy as a set of value creating and appropriating activities rooted in particular spaces and material dynamics of production connected through global networks of economic activity. The world economy is organised around value chains and production networks that traverse national boundaries as well as the gendered hierarchies of so-called domestic vs. productive labour, and which articulate people and places across countries and regions in a diversity of production-consumption relations. These inter-dependent relations are not just economic ones, but are always-already socially, historically, spatially and ecologically embedded, and invariably shaped by relations of subordination and domination. Regulation plays a central role here, within states, among them and in layered forms of private ordering. As such, the question of labour in the global economy today is concerned with the uneven working conditions, labour standards, precarious work, affective labour, unpaid work, child labour, forms of representation and worker organisation that arise from these inter-dependent global economic relations. Any attempt to understand these issues requires an interdisciplinary social scientific approach.

The Centre on Labour and Global Production brings together such an interdisciplinary group drawing upon a diversity of backgrounds including Development Studies, Economic Geography, Critical Management Studies and International Political Economy. We are committed to the careful study of actually-existing social relations. Our work is theoretically informed but uses theory as a guide to interpret contingent historical-geographical worlds around us, not a predetermined blueprint.

 


Dr Elena Baglioni (School of Business and Management, QMUL) holds a PhD in Development Studies from the University of Bologna. Elena’s research interests include global value chains within food and natural resources industries, agrarian political economy and economic geography. Her most recent interests span labour process analysis within food commodity chains, the political economy of natural resource industries, and research on labour control regimes. She is part of the Historical Materialism and World Development Research Seminar (HMWDRS) collective.

 


Dr Mirela Barbu (School of Business and Management, QMUL), after graduating from the Academy of Economic Sciences in Bucharest, undertook an MSc in Economics in Turin, followed by a doctoral studies in Economic Geography at the University of Sussex. Having lived in Romania during the socialist period under Ceausescu’s dictatorship and then, after 1990, studying and working in Italy and the UK, Mirela developed a strong interest in understanding the extraordinary transformation of Europe after the fall of the ‘iron curtain’ and the impact that the neoliberal economic restructuring had on the uneven development of the enlarged Europe.

 


Mark Bergfeld (PhD candidate, School of Business and Management, QMUL) is a researcher, activist and writer. He currently is finishing his PhD study titled: Solidarity, Democracy and Leadership: A comparative study of immigrant labour activism.  Before returning to academia, he was one of the key organisers of the UK student movement in 2010 and worked as a freelance organizer for trade unions in Britain and Germany. He has written for academic journals and publications, and his writings have appeared on Al-Jazeera English, New Statesman, and the Nation amongst others.

 


 

Dr Arianna Bove (School of Business and Management, QMUL) is a Lecturer in politics and ethics. Her research focuses on political theory and practices of alternative social and economic organisation. She has recently published on alternative currencies, and coedited Mapping Precariousness, Labour Insecurity and Uncertain Livelihoods. Subjectivities and Resistance (London: Routledge, 2017) with A. Murgia and E. Armano.

 


Dr Michael Shane Boyle's (School of English and Drama, QMUL) research focuses on the use of performance in political movements, the relationship between performance and labour, and theatre historiography — mostly in Germany and the United States. He is in the midst of a research project examining business logistics and containerisation through the lens of performance, and has published articles on gender and race in international performance, tackling topics such as feminist theatre.

 



Dr Liam Campling (CLGP Director, School of Business and Management, QMUL) is the Director of the Centre. He works on the relationship between global production, international trade, and the political economy of development and the environment. He is currently involved in an ESRC funded project on the role of labour standards in EU free trade agreements and is also working on a monograph titled Capitalism and the Sea (Verso, forthcoming).


 

Dr Rowland Curtis's (School of Business and Management, QMUL) work is located in the fields of organisation studies and critical management studies, and engages questions concerning the lived experience of working life, action research and critical praxis perspectives, transformative education and learning, and relations between power, knowledge, subjectivity and critique in organisation. He has published in journals including Organization Studies, Culture & Organisation, Business Ethics: A European Review and is a member of the editorial collective of ephemera: theory and politics in organization.

 


 

Professor Kavita Datta (School of Geography, QMUL) is a development geographer whose research focuses on transnational migration from the global South to the North. This interest has been developed in a series of independent or collaborative projects investigating the changing nature, politics and sensibility of work and transnational migration to global cities like London. 

 


 

Steffen Fischer (PhD candidate, School of Business and Management and School of Geography, QMUL) is the editor of the Centre’s working papers series. He is interested in how subnational labour regimes are connected to and shape global production and state-labour relations. He is currently teaching in the School of Business and Management QMUL, researching and writing publications based on his PhD.

 


Professor Gerard Hanlon (School of Business and Management, QMUL) has published widely across sociology, law, accountancy, health and management.  His recent work focuses on neo-liberalism, the changing nature of work and subjectivity, the shift from a real to a total subsumption of labour to capital, innovation and entrepreneurship.  He has also been researching the links between neo-liberal management, anti-democratic thought and organisation.

 


 

Jonathan Jones (PhD student, School of Business and Management and School of Geography, QMUL) is researching the role of labour in the maritime logistics sector, with a focus on the opportunities and challenges that developments in distribution methods, technology and employment practices bring about for workers' collective organisation.

 


Professor Sukhdev Johal's (School of Business and Management, QMUL) most recent research interests include critical research on UK finance, how to adapt social and economic statistics to understand employment and wealth changes in the UK, and how local authorities can adapt local CSR policies to promote economic democracy and local supply chains. He has a long-standing interest in financialisation and how it affects the behaviours and performance of large companies. Alongside academic publishing, he has worked on public interest reports on public policy issues such as UK rail privatization, an alternative report on UK banking reform, regional growth disparities and old age care. 


Ku'ulei Lewis's (PhD candidate, School of Business and Management, QMUL) research investigates the management of global value chains, with a specific interest in the effects of scale on biodiversity sustainability.

 

 


 


Dr Giuliano Maielli's (School of Business and Management, QMUL) research revolves around issues of technological, organisational and institutional path dependence, path confirmation and path creation. His empirical work analyses the emergence of meta-routines and meta-practices to explain 'structural hegemony' and 'architectural leverage' within organizations and across a platform’s constitutive elements. He focuses predominantly on production and R&D processes within car manufacturing and IT (smart devices and the Internet of Things). His research can be divided into three streams: the 'organisation theory stream' contextualises path-dependence processes within relations of production and proposes a neo-Gramscian interpretation of the agency-structure interplay within path-dependent phenomena based on the distinction between structural hegemony and hegemonic projects; the 'business history stream' looks at the emergence and transformation of routines and meta-routines within organizations and across occupational blocs; and the 'open innovation stream' which addresses platforms as meta-organizations in order to analyse the phenomena of platform leadership and architectural leverage.

 



Dr Matteo Mandarini's (School of Business and Management, QMUL) research interests are in the relation of conflict to the transformations of capitalism. Drawing on Italian Operaismo and the broader Marxist tradition, his work is focused on the ways conflict is both theorised and organised at a time when the concepts and structures foundational of political modernity are seemingly being eroded by the dynamics of global capital.

 



Dr Martha Prevezer's (School of Business and Management, QMUL) research over the years has been on two main themes: geographical industrial clustering, the emergence of new technologies and regional development in developed and emerging markets and the institutions associated with those processes; and comparative corporate governance and the institutions of governance and ownership of firms, also across developed and emerging markets. A book for Routledge, Varieties of Capitalism in History, Transition and Emergence: New Perspectives on Institutional Development is published in 2017. The book is about institutional development, meaning both primary institutions of different types of property rights, contract enforcement and the state, and also comparative corporate governance institutions governing the balance between stock markets, banks, different ownership structures and control. It joins up the debate over the role of primary institutions in economic growth and development of poor countries with work on varieties of capitalism and the institutional variation in corporate governance, comparing histories of Britain, Continental Europe, US, China and Tanzania.

 


David Quentin (PhD candidate, School of Business and Management and Centre for Commercial Law Studies, QMUL) uses Marxian value theory to critique the assumptions of the OECD's "BEPS" process and to analyse the global corporate tax system more generally.  His research focuses on the role played by materially unproductive labour, intellectual property, fiduciary relations and transnational corporate ontology in the shaping of the state-capital relation in twenty-first century capitalism.

 



Dr Amit S. Rai (School of Business and Management, QMUL) teaches business ethics and creative industries at QMUL. He has written Rule of Sympathy: Race, Sentiment, Power 1760-1860 (Palgrave, 2002) and Untimely Bollywood: Globalization and India’s New Media Assemblage (Duke UP, 2009). His most recent publication is "The Affect of Jugaad: Frugal Innovation and Postcolonial Practice in India's Mobile Phone Ecologies" in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space (2015). His current research is focused on affective labor, media practices of commoning, and hacking and piracy ecologies in South Asia. He is at work on a monograph on work-around practices in Indian urban digital ecologies, tentatively titled, Jugaad Time: Media, Attention, and Value (Duke University Press, forthcoming).

 


Dr Gale Raj-Reichert (School of Geography, QMUL) is a Lecturer in Economic Geography. Gale’s research interests are on labour governance of global production networks in developing countries. Her current research focuses on how changing relationships and power dynamics between firms in the electronics industry, governments, non-governmental organizations and trade unions affect negotiations, strategies and activities around labour governance in Malaysia and China. Gale’s fieldwork is based in the US, EU, Malaysia, Singapore, China and Hong Kong. Gale’s publications include papers in Regulation and Governance, Geoforum (two papers) and Competition and Change. Her research has also had an impact in policy communities, notably through her work with the International Labour Organization.

 

 


 

Kyla Sankey (PhD candidate, School of Politics and International Relations, QMUL) is the Academic Writing Tutor in the School of Business and Management. Her research focuses on the political economy of land and agrarian movements in Latin America.

 

 

 


Professor Adrian Smith (School of Geography, QMUL) works on global production and the political economy of uneven development. Much of his research has focused on the European Union's integration of neighbouring regions into regionalised production networks, and he is currently working on the role of labour standards in EU free trade agreements. He has recently published Articulations of Capital: Global Production Networks and Regional Transformations (Wiley, 2016, with John Pickles, Robert Begg, Milan Bucek, Poli Roukova and Rudolf Pastor) and is Editor-in-Chief of European Urban and Regional Studies.

 


Dr Olivia Vicol (School of Geography, QMUL) works with Professor Kavita Data on a Leverhulme project which investigates the Disciplining of the Remittance Marketplace. Prior to joining Queen Mary University, Olivia conducted her doctoral research in Anthropology at the University of Oxford, in the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society. With a thesis focused on Romanian migrants’ encounters with London’s precarious work sectors, Olivia’s project was dedicated to unpacking the power and pitfalls of informal economies. In 2016, Olivia helped found the Work Rights Centre: an employment rights charity where she is happy to act as Chair of Trustees. Since then, her work has continued to straddle a theoretical interest in states, markets, and the tension between formal and informal exchanges which runs through the heart of industrialised societies, with an active interest in public engagement with stakeholders beyond the academy.

 


 

Dr Jeffery R. Webber (School of Politics and International Relations, QMUL) is a Senior Lecturer. He sits on the editorial board of Historical Materialism and is the author of The Last Day of Oppression, and the First Day of the Same: The Politics and Economics of the New Latin American Left (Haymarket 2017), Blood of Extraction: Canadian Imperialism in Latin America, with Todd Gordon (Fernwood 2016), Red October: Left-Indigenous Struggles in Modern Bolivia (Haymarket 2012), and From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia: Class Struggle, Indigenous Liberation, and the Politics of Evo Morales (Haymarket 2011).

 


Dr Philippa Williams (School of Geography, QMUL) is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography. Her research concerns questions about citizenship and marginality within the context of organised and informal economies in India. Her book Everyday peace: politics, citizenship and Muslim lives in India looks in part, at working and social relations in the silk sari industry in Varanasi north India.

 


 

Dr Tessa Wright (School of Business and Management, QMUL) has been researching on equality and diversity in the labour market and workplace for many years, initially for the labour movement. She is interested in the intersection of multiple identities, and her book Gender and sexuality in male-dominated occupations: women workers in construction and transport was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016. She has undertaken research on trade union action to address inequality at work, including the role of union Equality Reps. Her ongoing research focuses on public procurement as a tool for advancing equality.

 

 


 

Dr Min Yan (School of Business and Management, QMUL) is a Lecturer in Business Law with interests in the role of the regulation in changing corporate behaviour and managerial accountability. He is also interested in working on employee rights within the corporate governance system. His recent research focuses on directors’ duties, agency cost and CSR.

 

 

Natalia Delgado (PhD candidate, School of Law, Birkbeck College) is researching the impact of the international economic organizations in labour law and global production. She specializes in labour law, international law and political economy. Her research engages with the relationship between labour market legislation, international trade and public debt. Natalia has a background working with trade unions, union federations, and the ILO.


Dr Cédric Durand (Associate Professor, Paris 13 University) is an economist. Working within the tradition of Marxist and French Regulationist Political Economy, he is member of the Centre d’économie Paris Nord. He participates to the editorial board of the Revue d’économie industrielle and the online journal ContreTemps.


Katy Fox-Hodess (University of Sheffield) is a lecturer in Work, Employment, People and Organisations. Her work focuses on labour, globalization and political economy. Her PhD in Sociology from University of California, Berkeley, examined contemporary international solidarity among dockworkers' unions in Europe and Latin America.


Evelina Gambino`s (PhD candidate, Geography Department, UCL) current project focuses on the New Silk Road and the logistics revolution in Georgia which she analyses as a discursive and material formation. She holds a Ba and Ma in Anthropology and Cultural Politics from Goldsmiths College, starting from her ethnographic training, her research is concerned with developing critical and collaborative field methodologies.  Her interests include critical logistics and critical geopolitics and the politics of infrastructure.


Dr Elizabeth Havice (Department of Geography, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) is an Associate Professor. Her research draws together development studies, environmental politics, and political economy to explore the multi-scalar intersections among state, firms, non-state organizations and nature in the global economy. Current projects focus on exploring ‘value’ in global value chains, dilemmas over property and sovereignty in marine spaces and marine resource management, and building networks of scholars exploring resource geographies and contemporary and historical ocean frontiers. In addition to academic work, she works in advisory roles for Pacific Island country governments and other not-for-profit groups interested in marine resources, value chain analysis, and economy–environment intersections more broadly. Chapel Hill, NC 27599. Email: havice@email.unc.edu 


Dr Amy Horton (Department of Geography, UCL) is a Lecturer in Economic Geography, having completed her doctorate at QMUL. Her research focuses on the interactions between finance, labour and care. It investigates the role of finance in the economy and society, and how social and labour movements seek to rework economies. Her doctorate examined financial investment in care homes for older people, as well as efforts by labour and community groups to ensure that care is valued more highly. Other work has explored the implications of living wage campaigns.


 Dr Ashok Kumar (Birkbeck, University of London) is a Lecturer in International Political Economy. His research interests include global value chains, workers’ bargaining power, development, and cities. Kumar is part of the editorial collective of City and Historical Materialism as well as on the editorial board of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.


Patrícia Rocha Lemos (PhD student in Social Sciences, University of Campinas, Brazil) examines the working conditions and work management at Walmart in Brazil focusing on how multinational companies adapt or shape their strategies to the national environment in host countries, especially regarding the working conditions. She is also interested in issues like employment and labour movement in the retail sector and the role of Global South in Global Production Networks.


Dr Alessandra Mezzadri (SOAS, University of London) is Senior Lecturer in Development Studies. Her research interests focus on global industrial circuits, labour informalisation and labour regimes; global labour standards and critical approaches to CSR and ethical consumerism; feminisms in development and social reproduction approaches; and India’s political economy. She has researched the Indian garment sweatshop in great depth, highlighting its multiple forms of exploitation and reproduction, in factories and home-based settings. Her research is published in numerous international journals and media outlets. She is the author of The Sweatshop Regime: Labouring Bodies, Exploitation and Garments 'Made in India' (Cambridge University Press, 2017).


Dr Satoshi Miyamura (Department of Economics, SOAS University of London) currently works on patterns of industrial restructuring, labour market institutions and labour-management relations in a range of manufacturing sectors, including jute and cotton textile, engineering and pharmaceutical industries in various regions of India, including West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat and the Delhi/ National Capital Region. More generally, his research interests are in the political economy of development in India and Japan; economics of labour and institutions; economic history and history of economic thought. He is part of the Historical Materialism and World Development Research Seminar (HMWDRS) collective.


Dr Paolo Novak’s (Department of Development Studies, SOAS) research unfolds at the intersection of critical borders, migration and development studies and is concerned with the study of a) borders, understood as the point of contact and articulation between multi-scalar and multi-directional social processes, as a prism to interrogate migration and development theorisations b) border management, understood as the set of interventions concerned with the opening/closing, location and enforcement of border functions, as a prism to interrogate neoliberal migration and development policies c) the tensions between abstract inclusion/exclusion criteria and their situated and fluid everyday life, as a prism to think about politics and political subjectivities.


Dr Gregory Schwartz (Department of Management, University of Bristol) focuses on a number of issues that cut across the problem of labour in contemporary globalised capitalism. Gregory researched the transformation of work, employment and labour relations in the context of post-socialist Central & Eastern Europe and Russia, looking at the effects of (and conflicts arising from) the nature of integration of CEE into global production and political economy on class relations, on the social organisation of the workplace, and on the workers’ social identities. Currently Gregory is undertaking a project on the rescaling of European labour, using the prism of ‘Europeanisation’ of labour and the political economy of Ukraine to examine how the regulative, institutional and organisational changes implied by, for example, the Association Agreements and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries represent a contradictory process of subordinating the local conjunction of class relations with the conjunction of EU class relations as a modality of the global reproduction of value.


Professor Benjamin Selwyn’s (School of Global Studies, University of Sussex) research interests include understanding how class relations evolve within and impact upon the formation and functioning of global value chains, theories of development, and the global food system. He is author of Workers, State and Development in Brazil (2012), The Global Development Crisis (2014), The Struggle for Development (2017) and co-editor of Class Dynamics of Development (2014).


Dr Umut Ulukan (Department of Labour Economics and Industrial Relations, Ordu University, Turkey) is Assistant Professor since 2009. Throughout his academic career, he has been concentrating on agrarian change and rural labour relations under the hegemony of neoliberalism and capitalist globalization in Turkey. During his research in this field he focused on contract farming, transformation and differentiation of peasantry in Turkey, rural classes, seasonal agricultural labour, the dynamics and effects of agrarian and rural change, and artisanal and industrial fisheries in Turkey. His recent works are concerned with the dynamics and outcomes of the process of rural transformation in the eastern Black Sea region of Turkey, which is the largest hazelnut producing area in the world and the largest fishing area in Turkey. One of his papers, entitled “Fish, Boats and Crews: Working and Living Conditions in the Fishing Sector of Turkey”, has just been published in Journal of Labour and Society (in Turkish). His current research project focuses on the new patterns of social differentiation among small scale fishers in Turkey.


 

**Our events are open only to Members and Affiliates unless otherwise indicated**

It is expected that participants will have read the working papers in advance (circulated via email). This is to reduce presentation time and encourage fuller discussion. If you are interested in joining any of these sessions, including the commitment to read in advance, please email: Liam Campling: l.campling@qmul.ac.uk

 

28-29 June 2018

The Post-Wage Economy: Re-theorising ‘work’ across the global North-South divide

An interdisciplinary workshop hosted by the School of Geography and the Centre on Labour and Global Production.

What are the emerging drivers and conditions of the post-wage economy across the world? How are these features experienced locally (e.g. through workers’ relationship with the state, the market and the household)? What are the key geographies of difference?

To what extent are these conditions captured by dominant concepts of work, such as those of precarity and informality? What is the genealogy of these concepts? To what extent do they enable or restrict South-North comparison?

What alternative theories are emerging based on the experiences of people provisioning outside of waged labour? What possibilities do these theories provide for reconceptualising the social, political and spatio-temporal boundaries of ‘work’?

Time: 10:00am - 5:00pm

Graduate Centre, QMUL Mile End Campus, London

 

Monday 14 May 2018

Book launch seminar

Development with global value chains: Upgrading and innovation in Asia 

edited by Dev Nathan, Meenu Tewari, and Sandip Sarkar, Cambridge University Press (Series on Development Trajectories in Global Value Chains)

Speakers: 

Dev Nathan (Insitute for Human Development, India, and Duke Global Value Chain Center, USA) 

Gale Raj-Reichert (School of Geography, QMUL)

Can firms and economies utilize GVCs for development? How can they move from low-income to middle-income and even high-income status? This book addresses these questions through a series of case studies examining upgradation and innovation by firms operating in GVCs in Asia. The countries studied are China, India, South Korea, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka, with studies of firms operating in varied sectors aerospace components, apparel, automotive, consumer electronics including mobile phones, telecom equipment, IT software and services, and pharmaceuticals. In the movement from low-income to middle-income status, the key industrial and firm policies are those of catching-up and learning through reverse engineering, sometimes as part of and sometimes outside GVCs. However, what suppliers actually do to internalize and build upon what they learn through ties with buyers is the crucial factor in effecting upgradation. In moving beyond catch-up, however, securing rents is important. This can be done through securing process rents. However, higher rents are earned through product innovation, which enable firms and economies to develop as headquarters of value chains and overcome the middle-income trap. The acquisition and development of knowledge and capabilities drive the processes of upgrading and innovation.

Time: 17:30 to 19:30

Location: Geography Room 220

Registration via g.raj-reichert@qmul.ac.uk is recommended.

 

Thursday 15 February 2018, 4-6pm

On New Terrain: How Capital is Reshaping the Battleground of Class War

Kim Moody, Visiting Scholar at Centre for the Study of the Production of the Built Environment, University of Westminster, Labor Notes founder and activist.

The Centre on Labour and Global Production hosts a book launch for Kim Moody's eagerly awaited On New Terrain: How Capital is Reshaping the Battleground of Class War (Haymarket Books, 2017). While many accounts claim that the working class can no longer exercise power as it once could, Moody traces developments in the global economy to locate new concentrations of capital potentially vulnerable to collective action, with particular focus on the logistics and services sectors. If workers can organise effectively, Moody argues, then capital remains vulnerable to class struggle in the twenty-first century. This talk will therefore be of interest not only to those specifically studying logistics or other important sectors in today’s economy, but anyone grappling with questions of how workers can still win.

City Centre Seminar Room, 2nd Floor, Francis Bancroft Building, QMUL Mile End Campus

 

Thursday 14 December 2017, 4-6pm

‘The Common as a Mode of Production’

Carlo Vercellone, Professor of Economics at the Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and a member of CEMTI and of the Laboratory of Economics.

Carlo Vercellone presents research from the new book The Common as a mode of production. Towards a critique of the political economy of common goods (Verona: Ombre Corte, 2017). What is the common? What are its foundations? Is it a set of well-defined resources – so called common goods – or a generic principle governing the social organisation of production? These questions need to be asked because the debate on the Common is as rich as it is confusing. On the one hand, notions such as Common, in the singular, commons, common goods, common property, common-pool resources, etc., are at times used as synonymous and at others as opposite, with no clear-cut definition. On the other hand, debates frequently lose sight of the extent to which these terms are used to cover highly differentiated approaches not only to theory, but also to the political role that the Common might play in projects of social transformation.

The purpose of the book is to contribute to clarify these questions through a multidisciplinary approach that combines theory and history. The aim is twofold. The first is to provide the reader with a guide to a critical analysis of the main economic and legal theories of common goods. Particular attention is granted to the benefits and limitations of Elinor Ostrom’s contribution and to the debate on the so-called tragedy of the commons. This survey of the literature serves the purpose of showing what the Common is not, or, at least, what it should not be reduced to. The second aim is to put forward an approach that is alternative to that of political economy. In this framework, the Common is theorised as an actual “mode of production”.

City Centre Seminar Room, 2nd Floor, Francis Bancroft Building, QMUL Mile End Campus

 

Thursday 30 December 2017, 4-6pm

‘Variegated Firm Finance in Global Production Networks: Car Component Manufacturers in Hungary and Eastern Germany’

Emile Boustani, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University

City Centre Seminar Room, 2nd Floor, Francis Bancroft Building, QMUL Mile End Campus

 

Thursday 2 November 2017, 4-6pm

Book launch seminar

The Last Day of Oppression, and the First Day of the Same: The Politics and Economics of the New Latin American Left

Jeffery R. Webber, School of Politics and International Relations, QMUL

This talk will explain the political dynamics and conflicts underpinning the contradictory evolution of left-wing governments and social movements in Latin America in the last two decades. Throughout the 2000s, Latin America transformed itself into the leading edge of anti-neoliberal resistance in the world. What is left of the Pink Tide today? What are the governments’ relationships to the explosive social movements that propelled them to power? As China’s demand slackens for Latin American commodities, will they continue to rely on natural resource extraction? This talk is grounded in an analysis of trends in capitalist accumulation from 1990 to 2015, in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela. It explains inequality there today through a Marxist framework, rooted in a new understanding of class and its complex associations with racial and gender oppression. The talk will also cover indigenous and peasant resistance to the expansion of private mining, agro-industry and natural gas and oil activities. Finally, the presentation will conclude with remarks on “passive revolution” in Bolivia under Evo Morales and debates around dual power and class composition during the era of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

City Centre Seminar Room, 2nd Floor, Francis Bancroft Building, QMUL Mile End Campus

 

Thursday 7 September 2017, 4-6pm

Session on labour in industrial fisheries:

‘Fish, Boats and Crews: Working and Living Conditions in the Fishing Sector of Turkey’

Umut Ulukan, Department of Labour Economics and Industrial Relations, Ordu University, Turkey

‘Labour regimes in the tuna industry in the Western Indian Ocean: Connecting boats, ports and factories’

Liam Campling, Director of CLGP, School of Business and Management, QMUL

City Centre Seminar Room, 2nd Floor, Francis Bancroft Building, QMUL Mile End Campus

 

 

2016 - 2017

 

Thursday 3 November 2016, 4-6pm

Reading group session on financialisation and labour

Cushon, J. and Thompson, P. (2016) ‘Financialization and value: why labour and the labour process still matter’, Work, Employment and Society, 30 (2): 352-365 https://doi.org/10.1177/0950017015617676

Tony Norfield 2016, ‘Finance, Economics and Politics’, Salvage, (August) http://salvage.zone/in-print/finance-economics-and-politics/

Room 4.27a (Boardroom), Francis Bancroft Building, QMUL Mile End Campus

 

Thursday 17 November 2016, 4-6pm

‘Global Value Chains and Labour Standards in the European Union’s Free Trade Agreements’

Mirela Barbu, Liam Campling and Adrian Smith (Queen Mary University of London) (with James Harrison and Ben Richardson)

The City Centre Seminar Room, 2nd Floor, Francis Bancroft Building, QMUL Mile End Campus

 

Monday 28 November 2016, 4-6pm **open to the public, please register in advance**

‘Uneven development patterns in global value chains: An empirical inquiry based on a conceptualization of GVCs as a specific form of the division of labor’ (with Bruno Carballa Smichowski and Steven Knauss)

Cédric Durand (Centre d'Economie de l'Université Paris 13)

The City Centre Seminar Room, 2nd Floor, Francis Bancroft Building, QMUL Mile End Campus

 

Thursday 8 December 2016, 4-6pm

‘Human Rights or Class Struggle? Varieties of Dockworker Unionism in Latin America’

Katy Fox-Hodess (University of California-Berkeley)

The City Centre Seminar Room, 2nd Floor, Francis Bancroft Building, QMUL Mile End Campus

 

Thursday 26 January 2017, 4-6pm

Reading group on Guido Starosta (2016) ‘Revisiting the New International Division of Labour Thesis’, in The New International Division of Labour Global Transformation and Uneven Development, edited by Greig Charnock and Guido Starosta, Palgrave Macmillan

The City Centre Seminar Room, 2nd Floor, Francis Bancroft Building, QMUL Mile End Campus

 

Thursday 9 February 2017, 4-6pm

‘Democracy, Leadership and the foundations of im/migrant worker power: A comparative analysis of im/migrant worker organisations in Berlin, New York and London’

Mark Bergfeld (School of Business and Management, QMUL)

The City Centre Seminar Room, 2nd Floor, Francis Bancroft Building, QMUL Mile End Campus

 

Thursday 27 April 2017, 4-6pm

‘The Struggle for Development’

Ben Selwyn (University of Sussex),

Room 4.27a (Boardroom), Francis Bancroft, QMUL Mile End Campus

 

Thursday 22 June 2017, 2pm – 6pm **open to the public**

'Chinese labour regimes: mutations, expansions, resistance'

A Centre on Labour and Global Production workshop with

Rutvica Andrijasevic  (University of Bristol)

Anastasia Frantzeskaki (Port Employees Federation of Greece)

Giorgos Gogos (Head of the Piraeus dockworkers union, Greece)

Gaochao He (Sun Yat-Sen University and Harvard Law School)

Pun Ngai (University of Hong Kong)

Carlos Oya (SOAS) and

Tim Pringle (SOAS)

“The ongoing wave of strikes in China is the latest manifestation of a dynamic that can be summed up in the phrase: where capital goes, labor-capital conflict shortly follows.” --- Beverly Silver

The emergence of China as a global economic power in recent decades has been striking – Its ~10% per annum GDP growth since 1989 is but one indication. This economic boom has been accompanied by enormous changes to the domestic labour market, as hundreds of millions have made the change from rural agricultural to urban industrial workers. At the same time, strikes by workers have been rising since 2004, and have intensified since 2010, when the government stopped releasing official statistics. In 2016, China Labour Bulletin had recorded 2,662 worker collective actions – an increase of 20% from a year before.

Meanwhile, Chinese capital has been flowing overseas in search of new investment opportunities, with over $130 billion invested last year alone, an increase of 55 percent on 2015. Major investments stretch across the globe, from Latin America (the canal in Nicaragua) to Europe (the Port of Piraeus in Greece) and Africa (natural resource extraction throughout the continent), competing increasingly with North America and European capital under greater pressure due to the differential impact of the economic crisis.

At this workshop, we will discuss these developments and attempt to answer a series of questions: What kinds of labour regimes are emerging in China and in Chinese owned firms abroad? What forms of resistance do they engender? And what opportunities and challenges exist for linking the struggles of workers in China with the struggles of workers in Chinese owned firms abroad?

The workshop is free but please register here so we have an idea of numbers attending:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/chinese-labour-regimes-mutations-expansions-resistance-workshop-tickets-34239090040#

Room GC201, Graduate Centre, QMUL Mile End Campus

 

Steffen Fischer (School of Business and Management and School of Geography at QMUL) is the editor of the Centre’s working papers series: s.fischer@qmul.ac.uk

All presenters at CLGP events are encouraged to submit a working paper in advance. These papers will be made available online or circulated by email among Members and Affiliates.

 

 

Working Beyond the Border: Labour Standards and Free Trade Agreements

This research examines the effects of the European Union’s approach to trade and sustainable development in ‘third countries’ and the extent to which this approach provides for meaningful improvement in working conditions in the global economy. It involves collaboration with CLGP members in the Schools of Business and Management (Liam Campling) and of Geography (Adrian Smith, Mirela Barbu) at QMUL, and colleagues at the University of Warwick (James Harrison (Law) and Ben Richardson (Politics and International Studies)). It investigates commitments of the EU to improve labour standards beyond its borders. It focuses on the EU pledge “to put more of its commercial weight behind efforts to promote social standards and decent work in bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations”, which has been trumpeted in the labour standards provisions contained in “new generation” free trade agreements (FTAs) as a key policy mechanism for promoting labour standards in third countries.

 

‘Ctrl-Alt-Del’, A Review of Language Put to Work by Enda Brophy

Arianna Bove reviews Enda Brophy’s Language Put to Work: The Making of the Global Call Centre Workforce (2018) Palgrave Macmillan.

“I don’t know why she’s always complaining about work. All she does is sit down all day talking on the phone”. So Zi’ Giovanni disparaged over his granddaughter’s exhaustion, as he bent his eighty-four-year-old back to harvest his pride and joy, juicy tomatoes growing from the soil of the Italian village he lived most of his life away from. Zi’ Giovanni and his brothers Davide and Michele, no money or educational qualification to their name, fled to Canada as almost chattel labour to work on railway construction. Their remittances afforded the progeny literacy and education: the key to non-manual labour. My cousin was not alone in migrating to the North to work in a call centre. The best at my high school even ventured to Dublin, the European capital of transnational telework. Swathes of educated youths fleeing the physical toil of their ancestors, trading the pains of hard backbreaking graft for carpal tunnel syndrome and stress.

In Language Put to Work: The Making of the Global Call Centre Workforce, Enda Brophy paints a striking picture of our generation, underpaid, overworked, betrayed, wasted. The book is published by Palgrave in the series Dynamics of Virtual Work curated by Ursula Huws and Rosalind Gill, solid sociologists at the forefront of research on labour in the digital age. Despite the seemingly circumscribed remit of the inquiry, great ambition is shown in its charting of the dynamics of a changing global workforce in a moving global industry: seasickness warnings apply.

 

Electronics Watch

Adrian Smith and Gale Raj-Reichert are advisory board members of Electronics Watch. Electronics Watch is a non-profit, non-governmental initiative which organises public sector buyers, provides tools to create effective market demand for decent working conditions (e.g. contract clauses), and monitors working conditions to ensure compliance in factories. Adrian Smith and Gale Raj-Reichert in partnership with Electronics Watch begin a PhD project on 'Circuits of Global Labour Governance: Public Procurement and Labour Standards in the Global Electronics Industry' in September 2018. The project examines how the public sector buyers in the United Kingdom, informed by the EU Directive on Public Procurement, attempt to regulate working conditions in global supply chains. More specifically the project focuses on questions surrounding how the governance framework impacts lead firm and supplier relationships in the sector; and the experience of public procurement regulation as an emergent new relationship between the state, public sector governance and labour conditions in globalised production networks.

 

Global Tuna Production, International Trade and Development

Liam Campling’s (CLGP Director, School of Business and Management, QMUL) research on the global tuna industry, the international trade regime and developing countries, and his ongoing policy collaboration with development agencies, trade unions and NGOs (a combination of commissioned and pro-bono work), has contributed to several impacts. Three sets of impacts were highlighted in his REF2016 Case Study: (1) influencing trade policy, regulation and legislation to support developing countries, including at the WTO; (2) improving labour conditions in tuna processing facilities in Papua New Guinea (PNG); and, (3) influencing public debate and understanding of fisheries industry and policy. Read more

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