Kendra Strauss (she/they)

Director | The Labour Studies Program and the SFU Morgan Centre for Labour Research | Distinguished SFU Professor | Department of Sociology & Anthropology | Associate Member, Department of Geography
Labour Studies Program


DPhil, School of Geography,  University of Oxford
MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Policy, School of Geography, University of Oxford
BA Hons (Cultural Studies), McGill University

Research Interests

I am a geographer and feminist political economist with teaching and research interests in the areas of labour and regulation, social reproduction, migration, urbanization, and social infrastructures. I am interested in the ways that categories of social difference shape how wage labour and unpaid work are valued and regulated, and what counts as labour. My research has focused on pension politics and financialization, precarity and unfreedom in contemporary labour markets, and labour and urbanization.

Before coming to SFU I taught at Birkbeck College (University of London) and held posts at the University of Glasgow and the University of Cambridge, where I was Director of Studies for Geography at Robinson College.

Current Projects  

Understanding Precarity in BC (UP-BC) Partnership Grant.  I am the co-Director with Iglika Ivanova, Senior Economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) – BC Office, of this SSHRC-funded community-academic partnership. The project runs from 2021-2027; the UP-BC Partnership includes 37 academic and community-based researchers, and 27 diverse community partners, committed to researching and tackling multi-dimensional precarity in BC and in a comparative context.

Workers in the Aging City: Eldercare Labour Markets in Vancouver and Shanghai: This SSHRC-funded project is led by Dr Feng Xu (Political Science, UVic) and Dr Kendra Strauss (The Labour Studies Program, SFU). The project, which runs from 2016-2020, investigates paid eldercare work in two major urban labor markets with different care regimes. More information.

Teaching (selected courses)

  • LBST 101-3 Introducing Labour Studies
  • LBST 202-3: Labour Research for Social Change: Methods and Approaches (Q)
  • LBST 307: Unfree Labour and Modern Slavery
  • LBST/GEOG 328-4: Labour Geographies  

Graduate Student Supervision

I am happy to supervise MA and PhD students with research interests in the areas of Labour Studies and Geography, in particular: feminist political economy and feminist political ecology, migration, unfree labour, precarity, and feminist urban theory.


Other selected publications:


  • Ivanova, I. and Strauss, K. (2023) But is it a good job? Understanding employment precarity in BC. Vancouver: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, pp. 1-72.
  • Strauss, K. (in press). Care and social reproduction. In: Contemporary Economic Geographies, Jennifer Johns and Sarah Marie Hall (eds). Bristol: Bristol University Press.
  • Strauss, K. (in press). Anglophonic Labour Geography. In: Handbook of Labour Geography, Andrew Herod (ed). London: Edward Elgar.


  • Strauss, K. (2022) A summer of discontent? Why public sector workers are preparing to strike in B.C. The Conversation, August 8, 2022.
  • Reid-Musson, E., Strauss, K. & Mechler, M. (2022) A virtuous industry’: the agrarian work-family ethic in US rulemaking on child agricultural labour, Globalizations 19:(6): 922-936. DOI:10.1080/14747731.2022.2031795 (Authorship: Reid-Musson 50%, Strauss 30%, Mechler 10%).
  • Strauss, K., & Xu, F. (2022). Devalued labour, COVID-19, and the problem of profitability: crises of seniors care in Shanghai, China and British Columbia, Canada. Studies in Political Economy, 103(2), 109–129. DOI:10.1080/07078552.2022.2096774 (open access) (Equal co-authorship)
  • Strauss, K. (2022). Introduction to Displacements. Special Issue on “Displacements” (28 papers), edited by Kendra Strauss. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 112(3), 621–625. DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2022.2029087 (open access)


  • Strauss, K. (2021) Beyond crisis? Using rent theory to understand the restructuring of publicly funded seniors’ care in British Columbia, Canada, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. DOI:10.1177/0308518X20983152. (open access)



  • Strauss, K. (2018) “Geographical Imaginations of Pension Divestment Campaigns” In: Marion Werner, Jamie Peck, Rebecca Lave and Brett Christophers (eds) Doreen Massey: Critical Dialogues. New York: Agenda Publishing.
  • Strauss, K. (2018) "Reproduction, justice and spatialities of power" In: Matt Coleman and John Agnew (eds) Geographies of Power. London: Edward Elgar.
  • Strauss, K. (2018) “Labour Geography II: Being, knowledge and agency”. Progress in Human Geography. Article published online first:
  • Strauss, K. and Xu, F. (2018) At the Intersection of Urban and Care Policy: The Invisibility of Eldercare Workers in the Global City. Critical Sociology. Article first published online:
  • Schwiter, K., Strauss, K., and England, K. (2018) "At home with the boss: Migrant live-in caregivers, social reproduction and constrained agency in the UK, Canada, Austria and Switzerland". Trans Inst Br Geogr. 2018;00:1–15.
  • Fudge, K. and Strauss, K. (2018) “Migrants, Unfree Labour, and the Legal Construction of Domestic Servitude: Migrant Domestic Workers in the UK”. In: P. Kotiswaran (ed.) Unsettling Paradigms, Revisiting the Law of Trafficking: The Palermo Protocol at 15. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. In press. (Revised and updated reprint of the 2014 chapter of the same name, published in Migrants at Work. Equal co-authors).


  • Werner, M., Strauss, K. et al. (2017) Feminist political economy in geography: Why now, what is different, and what for?” Geoforum 79: 1-4.
  • Strauss, K. (2017) “Labour geography 1: Towards a geography of precarity?” Progress in Human Geography. DOI: 10.1177/0309132517717786.
  • Strauss, K. (2017) “Sorting victims from workers: Forced labour, trafficking, and the process of jurisdiction”. Progress in Human Geography41(2): 140-158.
  • Strauss, K. (2017) "Precarious Work", Wiley-AAG International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology, edited by Douglas Richardson, Noel Castree, Michael F. Goodchild, Audrey Kobayashi, Weidong Liu, and Richard A. Marston.
  • Strauss, K. (2017) "Precarious work and winner-take-all economies". In: Gordon L. Clark, Maryann P. Feldman, Meric S. Gertler, and Dariusz Wojcik, The New Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography


  • Strauss, K. and McGrath, S. (2016) “Temporary migration, precarious employment and unfree labour relations: Exploring the ‘continuum of exploitation’ in Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program”. Geoforum 78: 199-208.
  • Buckley, M. and Strauss, K. (2016) “With, against and beyond Lefebvre: Planetary Urbanization and Epistemic Plurality”. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 34(4): 617–636.
  • Fudge, K. and Strauss, K. (2016) “Migrants, Unfree Labour, and the Legal Construction of Domestic Servitude: Migrant Domestic Workers in the UK”. In: P. Kotiswaran (ed.) Unsettling Paradigms, Revisiting the Law of Trafficking: The Palermo Protocol at 15. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


  • Strauss, K. (2015) “These Overheating Worlds”. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, special issue on ‘Futures: Imagining Socioecological Transformation’ 105(2): 342-350.
  • McGrath, S. and Strauss, K. (2015) “Unfreedom and workers’ power: ever-present possibilities”.  In: by K. van der Pijl The International Political Economy of Production. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 299-317. (Second author, 40% contribution).
  • Strauss, K. (2015) "Pension systems and labour law in the EU". In: Costello, C., Davies, A. and M. Freedland (eds.) Research Handbook on EU Labour Rights Law. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  • Strauss, K. (2015) "Social reproduction and migrant domestic labour in Canada and the UK: Towards a multi-dimensional concept of subordination". In: Craig, G, Lewis, H. Skrivankova, K. and L. Waite (eds.) Vulnerability, exploitation and migrants: Insecure work in a globalised economy. London: Palgrave.
  • Wainwright, J., Kosek, J., Strauss, K., Akhter, M., Labban, M., Mann, G. (2015) “Geoff Mann's Disassembly Required: A Field Guide to Actually Existing Capitalism (2013, Oakland: AK press)”. Capitalism Nature Socialism. Published online: 10 Apr 2015. DOI:10.1080/10455752.2015.1030436.
  • Strauss, K. “Feminist economic geography and Capital in the Twenty-First Century: going beyond ‘add gender and stir’ ”. Geoforum Online First: DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.07.005.
  • Strauss, K. (2015) “The role of labour market intermediaries in driving forced and unfree labour”. openDemocracy 


  • Strauss, K. (2014) 'Accessing pension resources: the right to equality inside and out of the labour market’. International Journal of Law in Context 10(04): 522-537.Fudge, K. and Strauss, K. (2014) “Migrants, Unfree Labour, and the Legal Construction of Domestic Servitude: Migrant Domestic Workers in the UK”. In C. Costello and M. Freedland (eds) Migrants at Work: Immigration and Vulnerability in Labour Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Ince, I., Featherstone, D., Cumbers, A., Mackinnon, D., and Strauss, K. “British Jobs for British Workers? Negotiating Work, Nation and Globalisation through the Lindsey Oil Refinery Disputes.” Antipode. Article first published online: 28 MAY 2014. DOI: 10.1111/anti.12099.
  • Strauss, K. “Challenging labor and work to survive well.” Book review symposium for J.K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron and Stephen Healy, Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our CommunitiesSocial & Cultural Geography. Published online: 22 May 2014. DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2014.916991.


  • Strauss, K. (2013) "Fair-mutualisation and the socialisation of risk and reward in European occupational pensions". In Countouris, N. and Freedland, M. (eds) Resocialising Europe in a Time of Crisis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Strauss, K. (2013) "Flexible work, flexible pensions: The evolution of retirement (in)security." In Arthurs, H. and Stone, K. (eds.), Rethinking Workplace Regulation: Beyond the Standard Contract of Employment. New York: Russell Sage.
  • Strauss, K. (2013) "Unfree again: social reproduction, flexible labour markets and the resurgence of gang labour in the UK". Antipode 45(1): 180-197.


  • Strauss, K. (2012) "Coerced, forced and unfree labour: geographies of exploitation in contemporary labour markets". Geography Compass6(3): 137-148.
  • Featherstone, D., Cumbers, A., Mackinnon, D., Strauss, K. (2012) "Boundary Crossing: Progressive Localism in the Age of Austerity". Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 37(2): 177–182.


  • Strauss, K. (2011) "Globalization and the service workplace: Citizenship, entitlement, and the future of UK occupational pensions". American Behavioral Scientist, 55(7): 902 - 919.
  • Clark, G. L., Duran-Fernandez R., and Strauss, K. (2010) "Being in the market": the UK house-price bubble and the intended structure of individual pension investment portfolios. Journal of Economic Geography, 10(3): 331–359.
  • Strauss, K. (2009) "Financialisation and gendered risk in occupational pensions". In Clark, G. L., Dixon, A. and Monk, A. H. (eds.), Managing Financial Risks: From Global to Local. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 258-279.
  • Strauss, K. (2009) "Cognition, context, and multimethod approaches to economic decision-making". Environment and Planning A, 41(2): 320-317.
  • Strauss, K. (2008) "Re-engaging with rationality in economic geography: behavioural approaches and the importance of context in decision-making". Journal of Economic Geography, 8(2): 137-156.
  • Clark, G. L. and Strauss, K. (2008) "Individual pension-related risk propensities; the effects of socio-demographic characteristics and a spousal pension entitlement on risk attitudes". Ageing and Society, 28: 847-874.