CfP: Ecology and Labour Regimes

Call for papers, deadline 28 January 2022

Organisers: Elena Baglioni, Liam Campling, Carlo Inverardi-Ferri and Adrian Smith, Queen Mary University of London & Neil Coe, National University of Singapore

    Recent work on labour regimes has provided one way to re-invigorate labour geographic research on contemporary and historical capitalism. Labour regimes have been conceptualised “as the core of networked, scalar systems of economic integration and production. At its core, a labour regime signals the combination of social relations and institutions that bind capital and labour in a form of antagonistic relative stability in particular times and places” (Baglioni et al 2022). At the same time, there is a rich and growing body of work on environmental labour studies (Natarajan and Parsons 2021; Räthzel, Stevis and Uzzell 2021). This includes research on working class environmentalism (Bell 2020), on the labour of environmental stewardship — or the “eco-precariat” (Neimark et al. 2020), on the social and ecological indeterminacy of the labour process and the materiality of global value chains and production networks (Baglioni and Campling 2017; Sinha 2021), and on the vital need to jettison methodological nationalism and narrow definitions of the worker in thinking about work and ‘just transitions’ (Velicu and Barca 2020; Stevis and Felli 2020).

    In these contexts, Coe (2021) has recognised the critical need for a research agenda at the interstices between labour geography and political ecology; one that centres labour in discussions of climate and biodiversity crises and transformation. What this provides is a space to think through what the opportunities and challenges might be for developing research on the labour regime-nature-ecology nexus. Such a framing provides the potential to extend some political ecological work that has to some extent focused on organised labour’s responses to, and labour’s mobilisations in relation to, the environmental and climate crisis (e.g. Barca 2019).

    Inspired by possibilities of bringing together labour regime analysis and environmental labour studies, these sessions seek to include research on the processes and mechanisms that inscribe regimes of labour control and modes of regulation in the ecological metabolisms of production and social reproduction. They also provide an opportunity to ask what more needs to be done to think through these articulations: how do we understand labour, ecology and racial capitalism (e.g. Pulido 2017), for example? These sessions seek to build this agenda by examining the co-constitution of social and natural processes, and by bringing together both theoretical and empirical work on labour regimes, nature and ecology.

    We welcome abstracts for papers engaging with this emerging terrain, which might examine any of the following areas through both conceptual and empirical (or ideally combined) research, although this list is by no means exhaustive. We are open to a range of perspectives seeking to examine how labour and ecology intersect and how this might inform labour regimes analysis:
    ·      The co-constitution of environments, ecologies and labour regimes
    ·      Labouring life, social reproduction and sustaining life alongside environments
    ·      Political ecologies of labour regimes
    ·      Labour regimes and natural resource economies
    ·      Technological transformations seeking to control labour regimes and ecology for enhanced accumulation
    ·      The development of ‘green frontier’ industries in energy, food, transport, etc. and their implications for work, employment and labour regimes; and conversely, the often “hidden” labour of the “eco-precariat”
    ·      Labouring bodies, health and labour regimes
    ·      Conceptual and historical accounts of the articulations of racial capitalism, labour regimes and ecology
    ·      How time, space and the constitutive nature of commodities in natural resource and agrarian systems structure labour regimes; and how labour regimes shape landscapes and nature

    Please submit abstracts (250 words maximum) to Adrian Smith (a.m.smith@qmul.ac.uk) and Liam Campling (l.campling@qmul.ac.uk) by 28 January 2022.
    Abstract authors will be notified by 11 February 2022 and those accepted must complete the abstract submission and conference registration process with the RGS-IBG before 25 March 2022 (https://www.rgs.org/research/annual-international-conference/call/).

Posted: 
03/01/2022