Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Labour Geographies GEOG4128

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course centres worlds of work and employment within transforming global political economies and situated labour regimes. Encompassing questions about the precaritisation and informalisation of labour relations, gendered and racialised dynamics of labour regimes, and the central role of labour migration within diverse sectors, the course seeks to equip students with the means to investigate and address causes of exploitation. Engaging students in key debates, the course explores labour geographies, a subdiscipline of economic geography emerging from the 1990s, centred on the spaces, places and scales of working lives, and the uneven ways in which worker agency shapes political-economic landscapes and socio-spatial relations under capitalism. The course centres the complex ways labour is not only classed, but also gendered and racialised, situating contemporary dynamics with uneven histories and geographies of colonialism, racial capitalism, migration and border regimes. Drawing on key feminist interventions, the course situates labour within gendered geographies of 'life's work' and formations of social reproduction, and pays particular attention to the experiences, agency and structural positions of mobile and migrant workers.


2 hour lecture per week (with a reading week) over one semester

2 x 1-hour coursework clinics for each assessment

Requirements of Entry

Fulfilment of entry requirements to Level 3 Geography

Excluded Courses





Essay (50%) 

Exam (50%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to offer students the opportunity to:

■ Critically engage topics, concepts, and debates within economic and labour geographies towards analysing changing relations, conditions and politics of work, employment and exploitation in diverse and uneven geographical contexts.


■ Develop critical analysis of gendered and racialised social difference within geographies of labour and work, engaging feminist and anti-racist approaches and concepts (e.g. racial capitalism, labouring unfreedom, social reproduction).


■ Develop critical analysis of migration and border regimes within geographies of labour and work.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Explain and synthesise key concepts, theories and debates within labour geography, feminist political economy and broader geographical scholarship on work and employment.

■ Critically discuss changing worlds of work within the contemporary global economy (including concepts of precarity and informality) and in doing so critically analyse the causes and impacts of exploitation and precarious working lives in diverse geographical contexts.

■ Critically evaluate notions of worker agency, as well as interventions from differently situated actors (states, trade unions, employers, and so on) in determining labour regimes and working conditions.

■ Critically analyse gendered and racialised dynamics, sites and relations of labour and work, situating social relations of waged and unwaged work within colonial, gendered and racialised histories and their contemporary geographies.

■ Critically discuss and explain how migration and border regimes, workers' social reproduction and labour regimes articulate.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.