My research is predominantly concerned with the politics of labour and health in the global garment industry.

My book on labour precarity and the demise of Caribbean garment manufacturing, Thiefing a Chance: Factory Work, Illicit Labor, and Neoliberal Subjectivities in Trinidad, was published by the University Press of Colorado in 2015, and won the Society for the Anthropology of Work (SAW) Book Prize.

With Geert De Neve, I co-edited Unmaking the Global Sweatshop: Health and Safety of the World's Garment Workers (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017).

I have three current research projects:

  • Labour rights, health and safety, and transnational activism in the global garment industry;
  • Compensation for death and injury of garment workers in Bangladesh;
  • Labour rights and labour organising in the UK's 'gig' economy.

Supported by C&A Foundation, I have written a policy report based on my research on workers' compensation, Workers' Right to Compensation for Garment Factory Disasters: Making Rights a Reality (2018). With Mahmudul Sumon at Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh, I am leading a research project, Raising Labour Standards in Bangladesh’s Global Garment Industry: What Role for Compensation Rights? (2019-2020), with a grant from the International Development Challenge Fund (IDCF).

My research has also been supported by grants from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the Royal Anthropological Institute.

I am interested in supervising doctoral students working on the global garment industry, the politics of labour, occupational health and safety, gender, health, the informal sector, the anthropology of policy and rights, the 'gig' economy, labour precarity, trade unionism, and on Bangladesh or the Caribbean.


Current Doctoral Students

  • Rebecca Ashley - The politics of 'birth work': an ethnography of risk technology and Icelandic midwifery (ESRC funded), co-supervised with Maya Unnithan
  • Ashleigh Jackson - An ethnography of cryptocurrency trading (ESRC funded), co-supervised with Paul Gilbert
  • Kaveri Medappa Kaliyanda - Life and work of platform economy workers in Bangalore (Chancellor's fellowship funded), co-supervised with Geert De Neve
  • Chloe Place - Investigating kinship care in dementia: an ethnography of families in Andalucía (ESRC funded), co-supervised with David Orr



Recently Completed Doctoral Students

  • Bronwen Gillespie - Messages and meanings: exploring malnutrition in the Peruvian Highlands
  • Yeyang Su - Toolised medicine: An anthropological study of ‘experimental’ cell therapy during a period of regulatory change in China (ERC funded)