Labour geography: a work in progress



Publication Details

Castree, N. (2007). Labour geography: a work in progress. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 31 (4), 853-862.


This short essay takes stock of where the field of 'labour geography' has got to and where it might productively go. The first part identifies labour geography's signature characteristics as they have emerged over the last 15-20 years. These are its insistence that geography is constitutive of employment issues, its emphasis on worker agency, its analytical promiscuousness, its acute awareness of power and inequality, and its Left sensibility politically speaking. The second part of the essay is programmatic and looks to the future. It is argued that labour geographers ought to more carefully conceptualize and study worker agency; to connect labour migration more organically with existing research on place-based workers; to develop a more substantive understanding of how states regulate employment and workers' lives; to look to synthesize different geographical dimensions of worker existence and strategy; to aim to examine working peoples' lives holistically; and to be more explicit about the normative basis of their 'pro-labour' stance and its implications for worker strategy.

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