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230072 SE Organising Labour in Global Production Networks (2019W)

4.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 23 - Soziologie
Continuous assessment of course work

Die Lehrveranstaltung kann für jede Forschungsspezialisierung des Masterstudiums Soziologie herangezogen werden, sofern dies inhaltlich zu Ihrem Masterarbeitsvorhaben passt bzw. mit dem Betreuer oder der Betreuerin abgesprochen wurde.



max. 25 participants
Language: German


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Thursday 03.10. 16:00 - 19:15 Inst. f. Soziologie, Seminarraum 2, Rooseveltplatz 2, 1.Stock
Thursday 17.10. 16:00 - 19:15 Inst. f. Soziologie, Seminarraum 2, Rooseveltplatz 2, 1.Stock
Thursday 07.11. 16:00 - 19:15 Inst. f. Soziologie, Seminarraum 2, Rooseveltplatz 2, 1.Stock
Thursday 21.11. 16:00 - 19:15 Inst. f. Soziologie, Seminarraum 2, Rooseveltplatz 2, 1.Stock
Thursday 05.12. 16:00 - 19:15 Inst. f. Soziologie, Seminarraum 2, Rooseveltplatz 2, 1.Stock
Thursday 09.01. 16:00 - 19:15 Inst. f. Soziologie, Seminarraum 2, Rooseveltplatz 2, 1.Stock
Thursday 23.01. 16:00 - 19:15 Inst. f. Soziologie, Seminarraum 2, Rooseveltplatz 2, 1.Stock


Aims, contents and method of the course

Production processes and employment relationships are increasingly organised by inter-company and cross-border operations and obviously shaped by technological innovations. Mobile, flexible and digitally (in)formed workers are important pillars of contemporary global value creation. This poses major challenges for the regulation of work and employment - at company, national and supranational level, even at household level – and for the unionisation of workers.
The course aims at understanding what impact the re-organization of global production processes, notably their informatisation and fragmentation, has on the discretion in labour process at workplace level on the one hand, and on the regulation and social protection of labour and employment relations on the other hand. The course frames such developments theoretically, traces them empirically and students interrogate them with own research questions. Theoretically, labour process theory, theories of industrial relations as well as those of global production networks are presented and discussed. A particular focus is put on digital labour and new forms of business organisation such as platforms. The course will also draw on concepts and preliminary findings of an ongoing HORIZON 2020 project concerned with Platform Labour in Urban Spaces.
First, the course tackles the phenomena of offshoring and outsourcing, i.e. the outsourcing of activities and parts of production and services from companies to other companies, platforms, households and/or abroad, and its impact on labour. This trend is investigated by referring to the relevant literature and by presenting and discussing examples of restructuring in the industrial, service and public sectors. We will work on concepts of labour process theory in combination with global production networks (including global care chains), the design of which is significantly influenced by technological developments.
Secondly, we discuss what digitalisation and the ongoing fragmentation of employment relations mean for regulation, industrial democracy, and social reproduction. Which actors play a role when it comes to social protection, the shaping of industrial relations and discretion in work processes? At which (spatial) levels and on which legal bases? How does cooperation work (globally and across borders) and which new forms of labour organisation arise?

Assessment and permitted materials

The course includes elements of text reflection and in-depth study of a selected topic. First, students will summarise and critically comment relevant basic tests. Secondly, students will prepare, present and elaborate on a selected topic with supplementary texts.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

A prerequisite for the positive completion of the course is the reading of and commenting on the compulsory literature, regular attendance and active participation, a successful presentation as well as the submission of a paper. Attendance is obligatory, two unexcused absences are permitted.

Examination topics

Reading list

Bair, J. (ed.), 2009. Frontiers of Commodity Chain Research. Stanford University Press.
Bair, J. 2005. Global Capitalism and Commodity Chains: Looking Back, Going Forward. Competition & Change, 9 (2): 153–180.
Bair, J. 2012. The Limits to Embeddedness: Triangular Bargaining and the Institutional Foundations of Organizational Networks. Working Paper INST2012-10. University of Colorado, http://www.colorado.edu/ibs/pubs/pec/inst2012-0010.pdf
BEIGWUM, 2018. Umkämpfte Technologien. Arbeit im digitalen Wandel. VSA.
Briken, K., Chillas, S., Krzywdzinski, M., Marks, A. (eds.) 2017. The New Digital Workplace. How New Technologies Revolutionise Work. Palgrave Macmillan
Castree, N., Coe, N., Ward, K., Samers, M., 2004. Spaces of Work: Global Capitalism and Geographies of Labour. Sage.
Coe, N. M., Dicken, P. & Hess, M., 2008. Global production networks: realizing the potential. Journal of Economic Geography, 8(3): 271–295.
Coe, N.M. & Jordhus-Lier, D.C., 2011. Constrained Agency? Re-evaluating the geographies of labour. Progress in Human Geography, 35(2): 211-233.
Coe, Neil M., and Henry Wai-Chung Yeung. 2015. Global Production Networks. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dicken, P. 2011., The global shift. Sage.
Drahokoupil, J. (ed.), 2015. The outsourcing challenge. Organizing workers across fragmented production networks. Brussels: etui.
Dunaway, W. (ed.) 2014. Gendered Commodity Chains. Seeing Women's Work and Households in global Production. Stanford University Press.
Flecker, J. (ed.), 2016. Space, Place and Global Digital Work. Palgrave macmillan.
Flecker, J., 2017. Arbeit und Beschäftigung. Eine soziologische Einführung. UTB.
Gereffi, G., 2014. Global value chains in a post-Washington Consensus world. Review of International Political Economy, 21(1): 9-37, DOI: 10.1080/09692290.2012.756414
Gereffi, G., Humphrey, J. & Sturgeon, T., 2005. The governance of global value chains. Review of International Political Economy, 12(1): 78-104.
Gress, D.R., Kalafsky, R.V., 2015. Geographies of production in 3D: Theoretical and research implications stemming from additive manufacturing. Geoforum 60, 43–52.
Hall, R., 2010. Renewing and Revising the Engagement between Labour Process Theory and Technology, in Thompson, P. and Smith, C. (Hg.) Working Life. Renewing Labour Process Analysis, Palgrave Macmillan, 159-181.
Holtgrewe, U., 2014. New new technologies: the future and the present of work in information and communication technology. New technology, work and employment 29, 9–24.
Huws, U. (2014). Labor in the Global Digital Economy : The Cybertariat Comes of Age. New York, New York: Monthly Review Press.
Mezzadra, S., & Neilson, B. (2017). On the multiple frontiers of extraction: excavating contemporary capitalism. Cultural Studies, 31(4), 1–20.
Newsome, K., Taylor, P., Bair, J., Rainnie, A. (eds.) 2015. Putting Labour in its Place. Abour Process Analysis and Global Value Chains. Palgrave.
Rehnberg, M., Ponte, S., 2016. 3D Printing and Global Value Chains: How a new technology may restructure global production.
Robinson, P. K, and Rainbird, H. 2013. ‘International Supply Chains and the Labour Process’. Competition & Change 17 (1): 91–107
Selwyn, Ben (2017) The Struggle for Development. Polity Press
Staritz. C./Reis, José (2013): Global Value Chains, Economic Upgrading, and Gender. Case Studies of the Horticulture, Tourism, and Call Center Industries, http://www.capturingthegains.org/pdf/GVC_Gender_Report_web.pdf
Silver, B., 2005. Forces of Labour. Arbeiterbewegung und Globalisierung seit 1870. Assoziation A
Thompson, P., Smith, C. (ed.), 2010. Working Life. Renewing Labour Process Analysis. Palgrave Macmillan
Wajcman, Judy. 2006. TechnoCapitalism Meets TechnoFeminism: Women and Technology in a Wireless World. Labour&Industry 16(3): 7-20
Weil, D., 2014. The Fissured Workplace, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:21