Labour Geography Beyond Institutions 

Organizers: Steven Tufts (York University) and Suzanne Mills (McMaster University)

Since its inception as an alternative to Marxist economic geographies that emphasized capital’s role in shaping economic landscapes over that of labour, labour geography has broadened its theoretical and empirical boundaries.  There are calls for labour geography to strengthen its class analysis and understanding of production. At the same time, others have called for a labour geography that complicates worker identities and expands its empirical focus beyond formal institutions (i.e., labour unions). 

This session explores how a labour geography might move away from portrayals of unionized workers over-coming spatial constraints to also include the spatial analysis of workers lives and the ways they  shape landscapes with other formations and actors, even  in cases where workers have little agency. With new fuzzy boundaries, labour geography has flourished from insights from feminist geography, development geography, anti-racist perspectives, and political ecology among others. 

In this session we invite papers situated within labour geography writ large. We therefore seek papers that include topics such as:

  • Alternative forms of collective representation;
  • Austerity and challenges to worker organizing in communities;
  • Reproductive work and organization by gender and sexuality;
  • Racialization and the workplace;
  • Resistance by unemployed and underemployed;
  • The backlash against internships;
  • Workers and populist movements; and
  • Connections between economic development and work.

If you are interested in participating in this panel at the 2015 CAG in Vancouver please send abstracts to Suzanne Mills, or Steven Tufts, by Feb 20th, 2015. The submission deadline for abstracts to the CAG is March 20th, 2015.