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 4: Working Spaces

Al Rainnie, Susan McGrath-Champ and Andrew Herod


Al Rainnie, Susan McGrath-Champ and Andrew Herod Globalization and the new economy encapsulates the transformation of economic and social relations across the globe. People and places are increasingly interlinked through the organization of work, the flow of goods and services and the exchange of ideas. Even so the contemporary world is characterized by difference rather than uniformity and widening rather than narrowing inequality but the spatial pattern is complex; while some people and places are involved in highly interactive global networks others are largely excluded, creating new and reinforcing old patterns of uneven development. Despite the enormous advances in human ingenuity and technology that have created unparalleled wealth and an economically integrated world, social and spatial divisions are widening. (Perrons, 2004, p. 1) . . . while capital must on the one side strive to tear down every spatial barrier to intercourse i.e., exchange, and conquer the whole earth for its market, it strives on the other to annihilate this space with time. (Marx, [1941] 1973, p. 539) Introduction Recently, the world crossed over a significant event horizon as, for the first time in history, its urban population came to exceed its rural population, the consequence primarily of rural dwellers moving to cities in search of work. The most obvious outcome of this migratory process has been the burgeoning of mega cities with populations of more than 8 million people and a more than doubling of the world’s urban labour force since 1980. Such trends are likely to continue, with the result that...

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