Work, Economy & Globalization

Faculty in this area study the historical and contemporary dynamics of change related to capitalist work arrangements, labour, capital and migration flows, the institutional and political regulation of labour, economic behaviour and organizations, consumption and consumer practices, culture and political economy, and labour movements. Given the profound local and global transformations taking place in the nature of work and the economy, faculty conduct comparative and transnational research in many parts of the world, including Canada, China, India, Korea and the United States. Prominent areas of research include:

 1. Workplace and employment relations

Research in this area explores workplace power relations and labour processes, the casualization and informalization of work, and the impact of employment insecurity on individuals, families and communities. The global transformation of workplace and employment relations in the context of capital mobility, economic restructuring and transnational corporate practices make this area a dynamic field of inquiry. (Fuller, Hanser, Hirsh)

 2. Workforce participation and labour markets

Faculty investigate employment patterns and labour market trends, including unemployment, the growth of precarious and non-standard employment, the intersection of race, gender, sexuality, age and family participation on the rate and quality of employment, and the consequences of job changes and career trajectories on individual and group economic outcomes and general wellbeing. (Fuller, Hirsh, Johnson, Richardson)

 3. Culture, markets and social inequality

Research in this area recognizes that markets, economic behaviour and economic organizations are fundamentally social, shape social interactions and are shaped by overlapping arenas of social life. In particular, faculty investigate the importance of cultural meanings and symbolic values attached to work, employment, consumer practices and social reproduction. (Dierkes, Duina, Fu, Fuller, Hanser, Hirsh, Lauster, Richardson)

 4. Gender, sexuality and work

Faculty research explores the gendered nature of work, ranging from gendered labour markets to gendered constructions of jobs to sex work. Feminist approaches foreground the importance of intersectionality (race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, etc.) and participatory action research. (Creese, Hanser, Hirsh, Ross)

 5. Capital, labour and migration flows

The circulation and regulation of capital, labour and migration are central to the dynamics of global capitalist expansion. Faculty research examines labour migration flows and regulatory regimes from the age of colonialism and empire in the nineteenth century to the contemporary age of globalization and neoliberalism. (Duina, Lauster, Mawani)

 6. Labour politics and trade unions

Research in this area intersects with labour studies, and several scholars focus on labour politics and trade unions, both historically and in a contemporary, transnational context. Our work explores the importance of collective organizing, community politics and social justice movements for securing labour rights and protections as well as transforming the dynamics of power and inequality inherent in capitalist work arrangements. (Corrigall-Brown, Creese, Ross)