Kendra Strauss

Associate Professor, Director of the Labour Studies Program and The Morgan Centre for Labour Research

Associate Member, Department of Geography, Faculty of Environment


  • DPhil (Geography) University of Oxford
  • MSc (Geography) University of Oxford
  • BA Hons (Cultural Studies) McGill University

Research Interests

I am a labour geographer and feminist political economist with teaching and research interests in the areas of labour market change, welfare regimes, and systems of regulation. My work focuses on occupational pensions; precarious work, migration and unfree labour; and on theorizing the relationships between production and social reproduction in contemporary capitalist economies. In particular, I am interested in how categories of social difference like gender, race and class relate to how wage labour and unpaid work are valued and regulated. Recent research has looked at non-standard work in the UK (funded by the Regional Studies Association), employment agencies and unfree labour, and the evolution of legal approaches to forced labour and trafficking.

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.


  • LBST 101-3 Introducing Labour Studies
  • LBST 306-3 The Political Economy of Labour Markets: Critical and Radical Approaches, new for Fall 2015.
  • LBST 328-3 Labour Geographies  

Graduate Student Supervision

I am happy to supervise MA and PhD students with research interests in the areas of Labour Studies and Labour Geography, in particular: feminist political economy, migration, unfree labour, gender and work, and feminist urban theory. SSHRC project - please click here for details.

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, will investigate policy on, and definitions of, paid eldercare work in two major urban labor markets with very different care regimes. More information.


Meehan, K. and Strauss, K. (eds) (2015) Precarious Worlds: Contested Geographies of Social Reproduction. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.

Fudge, J. and Strauss, K. (eds.) (2013) Temporary Work, Agencies, and Unfree Labour: Insecurity in the New World of Work. Routledge, Studies in 'Employment and Work Relations in Context'.

Book Review by Ben Rogaly on the Society & Space open site (free access).

Clark, G. L., Strauss, K. and Knox-Hayes, J. (2012) Saving For Retirement: Intention, Context, and Behaviour. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Other selected publications:

  • 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. (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) "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. (2014) "Le travail non libre dans les economies contemporaines", Christine Renaud, trans. Droits et libertes 33(2): 9-11.
  • Strauss, K. (2015) “These Overheating Worlds”. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, special issue on ‘Futures: Imagining Socioecological Transformation’ 105(2): 342-350.
  • 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.
  • 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 Communities. Social & 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 Compass 6(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.