Study Abroad and Exchanges

Modules

Modules

GEO3146 : Geographies of Working Lives (Inactive)

Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

1. To explore the geographical diversity of people's everyday struggles to make a living in the contemporary global economy.

2. To introduce students to an exciting ‘labour geographies’ research agenda, that builds on and extends key concepts in Economic Geography and Globalisation and Development developed in Stage 2.

3. To demonstrate how ‘labour’ is much more than a passive input to firms’ production processes, and how different groups of workers are capable of actively fashioning the geography of capitalism to suit their own needs and self-reproduction.

4. To decenter the ‘mainstream’ (Western-focused) labour geographies research agenda through new empirical engagements with different groups of workers working within, between and across the global North and global South, and through new intellectual collaborations with development geographers.

5. To encourage students to recognise and challenge the spatial limits of mainstream 'universal' theories in geography which presume that 'the economy' can be theorised solely from the perspective of the formal spaces of advanced capitalist economies in the global North.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module explores the economic-development geographies of people's everyday struggles to make a living in the contemporary global economy. Drawing on research within and across the Global North and Global South, this module engages with an exciting 'labour geographies' research agenda, concerned with how workers are capable of fashioning the geography of capitalism to suit their own needs and self-production; and to identify geographical possibilities and labour market strategies through which ‘workers may challenge, outmanoeuvre and perhaps even beat capital’ in different locations. The module seeks to expose the spatial limits of mainstream 'universal' theories in geography which presume that 'the economy' and 'labour' can be theorised solely from the perspective of the formal spaces of advanced capitalist economies in the global North.

Lecture structure:

Part 1 – New Worlds of Work (in Economic Geography’s Western heartland)

1.       Module Introduction - Where are the Workers? (from the West to the rest); Reconsidering ‘labour’ (from geographies of labour, to labour geographies)
2.       Flexibilising Work and (un)Employment in Austerity
3.       Work-Life (im)Balance: Work Intensification, Willing Slaves, and the Crisis of Well-Being
4.       Feminising Work: Is the Best Man for the Job is a Woman?


Part 2 – Postcolonial Working Lives (Connecting Global North and Global South)

5.       Global Labour Arbitrage, Bodyshopping and the New Argonauts
6.       Working in the World’s Back Office: graduate (un)employment in India’s New Service Economy
7.       Global Cities at Work: Migrant Divisions of Labour

FORMATIVE FEEDBACK ON CW ESSAY PLANS

Part 3 – Alternative Work Futures

8.       Union Busting Versus the Rise of Alternative Labour Organising
9.       Prosumers and Post-Work Possibilities in the Sharing Economy
10.       Alternative Livelihoods: Local Exchange Trading Systems and the Death of Class Inequality?

Wrap - Up
11. Globalising Labour Geographies: Module summary overview.
12. REVISION

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:301:30Video screening of key films relevant to module
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1162:30162:30N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures introduce, develop and illustrate theories and empirical material relating to different geographies of work, employment, and labour.

Seminars provide an opportunity for more interactive student-led discussion around key authors and seminal texts, alongside integrated analysis and presentation of relevant empirical case study material.

Specialist films and associated seminars provide illustrations of case studies on new worlds of work, postcolonial working lives, and alternative work futures.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A50N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M502000 word essay – choose 1 question from 3 set
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The unseen exam will test students understanding of the basic concepts outlined in the module, and abilities to engage with the relevant academic literature. The 2000 word essay tests students' ability to explore subjects in depth, demanding critical reading and writing skills and an ability to gather and synthesise material and to formulate a rigorous argument.

Reading Lists

Timetable