Labour market intermediaries: Buttressing, flanking or contesting precarity in neoliberal times

Type: Virtual Paper
Sponsor Groups: Economic Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM (PDT)
Room: Virtual 16
Organizers: Norma Rantisi, Deborah Leslie
Chairs: Deborah Leslie


The last several decades have been associated with tremendous instability in labour markets, what Zizys (2011) refers to as a “perfect storm”. Increasing number of workers are employed in precarious jobs, with precarity stratified by gender, race and class (Fudge and Strauss, 2013; Strauss, 2018; Vosko, 2000). The decline of the welfare state and rise of neoliberal modes of governance have prompted the rise of new types of intervention, and in particular, new types of labour market intermediaries. In order to fill the gaps left by cutbacks to state programs, a range of intermediaries and “shadow state” institutions now play a more important role (Martin 2011; Peck and Theodore, 2007; Visser, Theodore, Melendez and Valenzuela, 2016; Rantisi and Leslie 2020). These intermediaries include private sector intermediaries (such as temporary help agencies), membership-based intermediaries (including unions, guilds and professional associations), but also a range of publicly-funded agencies, non-profits, and community organizations, such as neighbourhood workers’ centers or work-integration social enterprises (Benner 2003; Peck and Theodore, 2001, 2012; Choudry and Henaway 2014). While many intermediaries are involved in struggles that challenge the nature of the contemporary labour markets, many end up compensating for the inadequacies of the capitalist market or more actively facilitating the rise of precarious employment. This session aims to bring together scholars who are looking at a range of intermediaries, from the more regressive to the more transformative, and the contradictions embedded in these institutional forms to examine the evolving landscape of labour market intermediation and what it implies for strategies for attaining decent, secure work.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Piyusha Chatterjee*, Concordia University, “Yes, I was putting money in the bank but…”: Self-organizing to turn busking into work in Montreal metro 15 11:10 AM
Presenter Brian Hennigan*, Department of Geography, Syracuse University, Gretchen Purser, Department of Sociology, Syracuse University, Both sides of the Paycheck: Recommending Thrift to the Poor in Job Readiness Programs 15 11:25 AM
Presenter Tim Riedler*, Department of Economic and Social Geography, University of Cologne, Martina Fuchs, Department of Economic and Social Geography, University of Cologne, Digitalization and union agency in Global Value Chains – A retailer case 15 11:40 AM
Presenter Ashley Baber*, Loyola University Chicago, Labor Market Engineers: Redefining Labor Market Intermediaries with the Rise of the Gig Industry 15 11:55 AM
Presenter Nina Ebner*, University of British Columbia, Migrant centers in northern Mexican border cities as labor market intermediaries 15 12:10 PM

To access contact information login