Expanding labour geographies: resourcefulness and organising amongst ‘unemployed workers’

Griffin, Paul (2021) Expanding labour geographies: resourcefulness and organising amongst ‘unemployed workers’. Geoforum, 118. pp. 159-168. ISSN 0016-7185

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2020.09.022


This paper will consider the enduring acts of care, support and activism associated with unemployment in the North East and Midlands regions of England. It will draw upon literature relating to unemployment, labour geography and feminist economic geography to illuminate different forms of agency and resourcefulness found within the examples considered. The paper engages with Unemployed Workers’ Centres in Newcastle and Chesterfield, focusing mostly upon their activities in response to UK austerity policies. These centres provide advice and support for unemployed people, particularly those who may be facing difficulties, such as work capability assessments, tribunals and debt. This supporting role is complimented by the campaigning activities of volunteers within these groups that actively contest related issues, including campaigns relating to zero-hour contracts, organising against austerity policies and wider educational projects as part of a relationship with Unite Community. The paper suggests that the associated organising practices indicate a varied and nuanced form of unemployed political agency that articulates and contests multiple unemployed grievances. This engagement with a wider political realm, alongside the intimate acts of support and care found within the centres, suggests a more nuanced and agentic understanding of unemployed resistance within an austerity context.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: unemployment, care, activism, austerity, community unionism
Subjects: L700 Human and Social Geography
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2020 14:49
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2022 08:00
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/44375

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