CfP: Standard employment enclaves, precarity and informality: Explaining employment configurations in the Global South

Call for papers, deadline 3 December 2023

Although we recognise the many insights achieved by the rich discourse on labour market segmentation, we see shortcomings as the debate has been almost entirely dedicated to developments in the Global North. On the other hand, the discourse on the Global South often focused on the dualization of formal and informal work only or highlighted single forms of employment such as contract work. So far, the full spectrum of different employment forms and labour market sections and the transitions between them have hardly been explored. Different understandings of informal work around the globe and the variety of working conditions and work relations subsumed have hardly been systematically discussed. But we also know little on how to explain that in the same industry the share of standard forms of employment may vary significantly according to country. Although using the terms ‘Global North and South’, we understand the respective areas as theoretical construct reflecting rather heterogeneous empirical cases and developments.

This Research Topic on “standard employment enclaves, precarity and informality” shall help to fill existing gaps and prepare new approaches to explain employment configurations in the Global South. Accordingly, we invite contributions that theoretically and empirically deal with the patterns of labour market segmentation in countries of different regions of the Global South, investigating e.g. the embodiment of standard employment, different forms of precarious work, self-employment and exploring the variety of informal work and economies. Contributions may also distinguish patterns according to economic sectors, considering industry, agriculture, commerce, and services.

Moreover, we invite contributors to systematically develop explanations for the different patterns of segmentation considering the diversity of historical backgrounds and economic contexts in the Global South. We therefore encourage contributors to make use of both established and new approaches like:

• institutionalist perspectives: focusing on labour market regulation, social and labour market policies and industrial relation systems;

• actor and power resource centred approaches: highlighting agency and strategy of employers and trade unions;

• economic and industrial development-oriented approaches;

• postcolonial approaches, analyses of decolonial governments’ strategies with respect to economic development, the international division of labour in global production networks and the role of international actors;

• examinations of the unevenness of labour markets in place, focusing for instance on class formation, on histories of collective action, or on shifts in capital accumulation and state power;

• forms of discrimination and structural disadvantages with respect to gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, but also age and educational level etc. may be in the focus.

Finally, we would like to give a stronger focus on labour law and its triggering, reinforcing or mediating role on labour market segmentation in the Global South. We therefore welcome both contributions – in comparative perspective – that explain major reforms towards de- or re- regulation, respectively the development of labour law in a historical perspective and contributions that may focus on particular types of legal regulation and its impact on patterns of labour market segmentation and process of precarization, formalization and (re) informalization.


Manuscript Summary Submission Deadline 03 December 2023

Manuscript Submission Deadline 30 April 2024


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