Fall 2023 - LBST 201 OL01

Workers in the Global Economy: Globalization, Labour and Uneven Development (3)

Class Number: 7545

Delivery Method: Online


  • Course Times + Location:


  • Prerequisites:

    Strongly Recommended: LBST 101.



Explores how people experience paid and unpaid work in the global economy. Focuses on processes such as migration and economic structuring, and applies critical development studies and critical geopolitics to study labour and employment. Explores links between capitalism, urbanization and labour struggles. Examines labour internationalism and global labour rights. Students with credit for LBST 230 under the title "Workers and Global Capitalism" or "Work and Employment in a Globalized World" and IS 221 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Social Sciences.


This course explores the relationship between development, globalization and labour. Using an interdisciplinary framework that will include historical and sociological analysis, critical development studies and geopolitical analysis, the course invites students to examine how the historical origins of violent labour regimes such as colonialism and slavery inform contemporary processes of globalization. While we will pay attention to the ways in which global historical processes perpetuate institutionalized hierarchies based on class, gender, ethnicity, citizenship status through paid and unpaid work, the course will also focus on how workers’ struggles against dynamic forces shape contemporary labour markets and production networks.

Overall, this course is structured on the understanding that globalization is associated with dynamic processes such as migration, the rise of international corporations and capital mobility, free trade agreements and the imposition of neoliberal policies through core international economic institutions and multilateral organizations. Although these economic (re) structuring processes seem removed from the daily life and struggles of workers, their effect on work and on the socio-cultural and political lives of workers is inarguable. Through a comparative lens of various geographical regions and groups of workers, we will ask: how have globalization and global economic (re) structuring processes impacted the lives of workers and the idea of democracy? How have workers and workers’ organizations responded to the socio-cultural and geopolitical changes affecting work? How have these global processes shaped workers lives in transnational contexts? What are the international responses to the changing nature of work and workers lives?


- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concept Global Labour Studies
- Understand different contexts of formal and informal employment in diverse economies.
- Apply critical analytical approaches to explain realities of differentially situated workers.
- Show familiarity of the importance and impact of processes like migration and global financial integration
- Understand the relationship between development, globalization, and labour processes.
- Find sources and conduct research on labour dynamics in different regions.


  • Group Podcast presentation 20%
  • Weekly Canvas Discussion and Participation 10%
  • Take-home mid-term exam 20%
  • Paper Proposal & Annotated Bibliography 20%
  • Final Essay 30%


This syllabus is provisional and may be subject to minor changes. Students will be notified in advance should these arise.

Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Honesty and Student Conduct Policies: The Labour Studies Program follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic honesty and student conduct procedures (S10.01‐S10.04). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.



Marcus Taylor and Sebastien Rioux (2017) Global Labour Studies. Polity.
(Available online through the SFU library)

NB// The link to the course library guide and book (are at the bottom of this page): https://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/research-assistance/subject/labour-studies/lbst201workersintheglobaleconomy

Additional material will be available on Canvas or Library Course Page


Beverley Silver (2003) Forces of Labour. Cambridge University Press


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.