Feminist Economic Geography and the Future of Work

Authors: Lia Frederiksen*, University of Toronto
Topics: Economic Geography, Gender, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: feminist economic geography, work, agency, social reproduction, technology
Session Type: Paper
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Grounded in a discussion of feminist economic geography, this paper centres a broad concept of work developed among feminist scholars to consider current academic, official, and popular conversations on ‘the future of work’. Technology has an undoubtedly important, though ambivalent, role in this future, whether it is envisioned optimistically or pessimistically. Feminist economic geography is well-positioned to intervene in these divergent interpretations, offering an understanding of how the social realities of work continue to differentiate among workers today. This view highlights what is at stake in theorizing the future of work: perpetuation of racialized and gendered dehumanization of workers geographically located within the global economy as creators of surplus value structurally dependent upon markets. Such a theorization remains an important political task for economic geographers to account for the ways work reproduces structural inequalities under capitalism amid presumptively epochal transitions in the present. Extending insights from contributions to conference sessions organized in 2018-19 under the theme “Querying the Future of Work” organized with Emily Reid-Musson, Daniel Cockayne, and Nancy Worth, this paper suggests a re-examination of feminist economic geography to further open up questions of workers’ agency and organizing.

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