Centre for Global Political Economy


Within mainstream GPE ‘labour’ is often subordinated to states and markets as key drivers of development. In the CGPE two of our scholars, Kevin Gray and Ben Selwyn and several of their research students have placed labour at the centre of the understanding of capitalist geo-politics and development. The centre brings a critical approach to the investigation and comprehension of labour within GPE in areas such as the ‘race-to-the-bottom’ in labour standards and conditions, the capacity of organised labour to generate more progressive developmental patterns, and labour’s impact upon domestic state actions (such as development policy) and external state relations (such as the establishment of global institutions to regulate capital and labour).

The centre works closely with colleagues in all three departments of Global Studies (International Relations, Geography and Anthropology) where there is widespread empirical, fieldwork-based and theoretical expertise on labour’s relationship to development.


Gills, B. and Gray, K. (2012) ‘People power in the era of global crisis: rebellion, resistance, and liberation’. Third World Quarterly 33(3): 205-244

Jenkins, R. and Newell, P. (2013) ‘CSR, tax and development’, Third World Quarterly 33(3): 378-396 

Selwyn, B. (2013) ‘Social upgrading and labour in global production networks: a critique and an alternative conception’. Competition and Change 17(1): 75-90

Selwyn, B. (2013) Karl Marx, class struggle and labour-centred development’. Global Labour Journal 4(1): 48-70

Selwyn, B. (2012) Workers, state and development in Brazil: powers of labour, chains of value Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Selwyn, B. (2011) Workers in global commodity chains: the organisation of labour in export grape production’. In: Globalization and the Time-Space Reorganization: Capital Mobility in Agriculture and Food in the Americas Bingley: Emerald Publishing.

Selwyn, B. (2011) The political economy of class compromise: trade unions, capital-labour relations and development in North East Brazil’, Antipode 43(4): 1305-1329

Selwyn, B. (2011) ‘Beyond firm-centrism: re-integrating labour and capitalism into global commodity chain analysis’, Journal of Economic Geography 12(1): 205-226

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