CDWI Public Seminar Series – The multiple geographies of constrained labour agency

Neil Coe

The multiple geographies of constrained labour agency

with Professor Neil Coe, University of Sydney – 30 November, 2023
This event is part of CDWI’s Public Seminar Series.


In this presentation, which draws on recent work with co-author David Jordhus-Lier (University of Oslo), Neil will critically evaluate the burgeoning research on labour agency in human geography over the past decade. He will review efforts to distinguish varied forms of labour agency and locate them in different social contexts, in so doing identifying certain disjunctures in the cross-case conceptualisation of labour agency. In this context a morphogenetic approach to structure-agency dynamics in the world of work is proposed, drawing upon the work of critical realist Margaret Archer. Deploying this approach allows the lack of explicit reflection on the geographies inherent to labour agency in the extant literature to be addressed. Four temporal moments are highlighted as central to the spatialities of worker actions, as well as to their structural constraints and outcomes. These are termed, respectively: the geographies of structural conditioning, geographical imaginations, geographies in action, and geographies of action.

About the presenter

Neil CoeNeil M. Coe is Professor of Economic Geography and Head of the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney. Since January 2023, he has been an Adjunct Professor at Copenhagen Business School, affiliated to the Centre for Business and Development Studies (CBDS). His research interests are in the areas of global production networks, regional economic development, and labour geographies. These concerns have been explored through research into computer services, temporary staffing and logistics in the UK, Europe and Asia Pacific, the film/television and gaming industries in the UK, Canada and China, and retailing in the UK, East Asia and Eastern Europe. His current research is focusing on critical mineral global production networks and regional development in Australia, and export-oriented, high-value horticulture on the North-East coastal strip of Australia.

He recently authored the Advanced Introduction to Global Production Networks (Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2021) and coedited Labour Regimes and Global Production (Agenda, Newcastle, 2022). He was an editor of the Journal of Economic Geography for nine years from 2014-2022.

Event details

Date: Thursday, 30 November 2023
Time: 1.00pm – 2.00pm AEST
Location: A Block, A101, Gardens Point Campus.
Cost: Free
RSVP: To attend in person, register online.
To watch the webinar of the event, register here.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Share content via social media