Handbook of Employment and Society
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Handbook of Employment and Society

Working Space

Edited by Susan McGrath-Champ, Andrew Herod and Al Rainnie

This Handbook deepens and extends the engagement between research concerned with work and employment and labour geography. It links fundamental concepts concerning the politics of place that human geographers have developed in recent years with the world of work.
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Chapter 1: Foundations

Andrew Herod, Susan McGrath-Champ and Al Rainnie


Andrew Herod, Susan McGrath-Champ and Al Rainnie The origins of this book lie in a workshop held by the Department of Work and Organisational Studies at the University of Sydney in 2001. Amongst other things, the workshop was designed to encourage greater engagement on the part of scholars of work and employment with some of the developments that had been taking place within the geographical literature in the previous two decades or so, concerning theorising about how social actors’ lives are deeply geographically structured and what that means for how we understand their behaviour. The perceived need for the workshop emerged out of the fact that whilst there had been exceptions, it seemed to the organisers that theoretical advances in conceptualising the role of space in structuring how capitalism works had largely bypassed much of the standard study of work and employment, a bypassing exemplified by a number of key texts then extant in the literature.1 The workshop represented, in effect, an effort to promote adoption of a spatial sensitivity and awareness that had largely been lacking in much of the mainstream literature concerned with industrial relations, workers, work and employment. Consequently, in the spirit of encouraging interdisciplinary conversation, the workshop’s Keynote Address was given by geographer Jamie Peck, who had recently published what has since become one of the foundational texts seeking to spatialise labour market theory (Peck, 1996). For her part, Susan co-convened and presented a paper at the workshop whilst Al, recently arrived in Australia from the...

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