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School of Business and Management

Professor Liam Campling


Associate Dean for Research; Professor of International Business and Development

Room Number: Room 3.37, Francis Bancroft Building, Mile End Campus




I am a political economist researching the theory, politics and industrial organisation of the business enterprise and global value chains; international trade policy, its negotiation and relationship to global production; and the political economy of development and environment change. I regard political economy as an interdisciplinary approach that allows me to contribute to debates in a range of fields.

I co-authored Capitalism and the Sea (Verso, 2021), which won the IPEG 2022 Book Prize, and  Free Trade Agreements and Global Labour Governance (Routledge, 2021), and co-edited Labour Regimes and Global Production (Agenda/ Colombia University Press, 2022)

I have done commissioned research on a range of themes including trade policy and industry analysis for a variety of organisations, such as the Commonwealth Secretariat; European Commission; European Parliament; Food & Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations; International Transport Workers Federation; United Nations Conference on Trade and Development; and United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. I have also worked part-time for the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) since 2007 as an advisor on the global tuna industry and international trade policy; and for Pacific Islands Forum at its Permanent Delegation in Geneva, with a focus on the World Trade Organisation.

I joined Queen Mary University of London in 2009. I hold a PhD in Development Studies from SOAS, University of London, a MA(Econ) in Political Development (Distinction) and a BA(Hons) in Politics and Modern History (First), both from the University of Manchester.


BUS268: Corporate Strategy and Environmental Change

My teaching draws on the fields of economic geography, international political economy and international business. I teach across all levels, from first year undergraduate to masters’ modules and PhD training. My teaching is particularly focused on linking (and finding tensions among) theory, policy and practice, including state regulation, the strategies of big business, and tracing and explaining processes of change in the world economy. This is closely linked to my research and policy work on multinational enterprises, international trade, the political economy of industrial development, and environmental change.

I have had a good track record of student and peer feedback on my teaching and learning practices. I carefully align content with modes of assessment, and unfold and interrogate theory and concepts using ‘authentic problems’ from on country and industry case studies. Collaborating with colleagues, I try to experiment with pedagogy to engage our diverse student body.  My non-academic work with governments, international organisations, NGOs and trade unions feeds directly into my teaching practice which, I hope, bring to life and ground in place some of the more abstract or faceless issues, institutions and processes that I explore with students.

Liam is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Research Interests:

My research is often collaborative and can be divided into six distinct, but interconnected contributions.


Global Value Chains and Natural Resource Industries

I have advanced conceptually and empirically the understanding of the environment as a material dynamic shaping and shaped by corporations and inter-firm relations in the world economy (e.g. Campling 2012; Baglioni and Campling 2017; Campling and Selwyn 2018; Campling and Havice 2019). In connected research with Elizabeth Havice, we have shown how environmental governance is used by dominant firms as a business strategy, including in articulations with individual states and the international system (Havice and Campling 2013, 2017; Campling and Havice 2018). This work challenges firm-centrism in global value chain analysis and shows why ecology matters to the study of business dynamics.

In Capitalism and the Sea with Alejandro Colás (Verso 2021), we trace the political economy, ecology and geopolitics of the sea, and show that the earth’s geographical separation into land and sea has significant, but under-studied, consequences for rethinking how capitalism works. We challenge land-based narratives of capitalist development and show how struggles over sovereignty, exploitation and appropriation in the capture and coding of maritime spaces and resources has shaped the modern world.


The Political Economy of International Fisheries Trade and Resource Access

This research on international fisheries trade and resource access rules and their commercial relations has shown that the negotiation and implementation of trade agreements shape profoundly the structure of global fisheries production (Campling 2015, 2016, 2017; Campling and Havice 2013, 2014; Curran et al. 2019; Andriamahefazafy et al. 2019). This work has ruptured siloed, technicist thinking in scholarship on fisheries, demonstrating the ways in which trade rules are the historical products of business strategies, and theorises the problem of property over mobile living resources. This academic work has laid a powerful basis for public engagement and is the foundation for Impact Case Studies submitted to REF2013 and REF2021.



Law, the Corporation, Global Value Chains and Redistribution

Combining my work on GVCs and international trade law, is an offshoot of theory-driven collaborative work examining the role of law and managerialism in the distribution of wealth in global production (IGLP Law and Global Production Working Group 2016; Baglioni et al. 2019; Campling 2019). In particular, work with Clair Quentin has shown that corporations make strategic use of the articulation of global value chains and global wealth chains to maximise post-tax profits, reproducing global inequalities between firms, countries, classes and genders (Quentin and Campling 2018; Campling and Quentin 2021). 


EU Free Trade Agreements and Labour Standards

Funded by a two-year ESRC grant (2015-17), I shifted the relational focus of my work from trade, the environment and natural resource industries, to trade, labour standards and automobile  manufacturing. As Co-Investigator on an inter-disciplinary team of researchers from QMUL and the University of Warwick, I investigated the negotiation, implementation and effectiveness of the EU’s framework for labour provisions in its Free Trade Agreements. Our research identified significant limitations in the institutional structures established by the EU’s framework and in its operationalisation, where my focus was South Korea and its automotive production network (Barbu et al. 2018; Campling et al. 2016; Campling et al. 2019; Harrison et al. 2018a and 2018b; Smith et al. 2018).  This research won the Journal of Common Market Studies joint best article prize in 2019 and was published in Free Trade Agreements and Global Labour Governance: The European Union’s Trade-Labour Linkage in a Value Chain World (Routledge, 2021). 


Labour Regimes and Global Production

I have worked collaboratively with two groups of researchers on the development of ‘labour regime analysis’. The concept of a labour regime acts as a bridge between distinct sub-disciplines that study labour, work and employment and those that study firms and globalised production. And it allows for the scalar analysis of the multiple dimensions of social relations, governance and regulation that stabilise and contest the production process in particular places. The first set of work developed out of the research on EU FTAs and labour standards and involves the conceptualisation of labour regimes as consisting of nested scales of relations, articulating global value chains, national political economies and workplaces . (Smith et al. 2018; Campling et al. 2019). The second group emerged from a long-standing collaboration with the Historical Materialism and World Development Research Seminar (HMWDRS) and builds on prior work on class-relational analysis in a book edited with Jonathan Pattenden, Satoshi Miyamura and Ben Selwyn The Class Dynamics of Development (Routledge, 2017). This collective work resulted in a collection of original essays Labour Regimes and Global Production (Agenda/ Columbia University Press, 2022) that I am edited with Elena Baglioni, Neil Coe and Adrian Smith.


Interdisciplinary Study of the Global Ocean and Environmental Change

I engage in cross-disciplinary work with oceanographers, fisheries and climate change scientists, economists and legal scholars, including on the impacts of climate change on small island developing states, the sustainable governance of oceanic ecosystems, and scenario building for projecting possible pathways in the social-ecological evolution of oceanic systems (Maury et al. 2013 and 2017; Guillotreau et al. 2012).


Centre and Group Membership:


(co-authorship is equal unless otherwise indicated)


Reviewed in  Asian Labour Review, British Journal of Industrial Relations, Capital and Class, Organization

Reviewed in The AAG Review of Books, Antipode, Boston Review, The Jacobin, Journal of Agrarian Change, Journal of Peasant Studies, The Mariner’s Mirror, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books, Review of Agrarian Studies, Society and Space, Tribune, What’s Worth Reading; and a symposium in International Journal of Maritime History


Journal articles

  • 2023 (with Colás, A), ‘Maritime Labour Regimes in the Neoliberal Era’, Development.
  • 2023 (Colás, A. and L. Campling), ‘Maritime Temporalities and Capitalist Development’, Geography Compass.  
  • 2023 (Jipa-Mușat, I., Prevezer, M. and Campling, L.). ‘Elite agency in the growth of offshore business services in Romania’, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space,  
  • 2021 (Bair, J. Mahutga, M., Werner, M. and Campling, L.), ‘Capitalist Crisis in the “Age of Global Value Chains”’, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space,  
  • 2021 (with Elena Baglioni and Gerard Hanlon), ‘Beyond Rentiership: Standardisation, Intangibles and Value Capture in Global Production’, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space,  
  • 2021 (Havice, Elizabeth, Lisa M. Campbell, Liam Campling, Martin D. Smith) ‘Commentary: Making sense of firms for ocean governance’, One Earth, 4(5): 602 – 604.
  • 2021 (Campling, L., Harrison, J., Richardson, B., Smith, A. and Barbu, M.), ‘South Korea’s Automotive Labour Regime, Hyundai Motors’ Global Production Network and Trade-based Integration with the European Union’, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 59(1): 139-166  
  • 2020 (with Elena Baglioni and Gerard Hanlon), ‘Global value chains as entrepreneurial capture: insights from management theory’, Review of International Political Economy, 27(4): 903-925
  • 2019, ‘Competitive accumulation, the geographical transfer of value, and global environmental change’, Review of Social Economy, 78(2): 139-145:
  • 2019 (Louise Curran, Khalid Nadvi and Liam Campling), ‘The Influence of Tariff Regimes on Global Production Networks’, Journal of Economic Geography 19(4): 873–895.
  • 2019 (Mialy Andriamahefazafy, Christian. A. Kull and Liam Campling), ‘Connected by sea, disconnected by tuna? Challenges to regionalism in the Southwest Indian Ocean’, Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, 15(1): 58-77
  • 2019 (Harrison, J., Barbu, M., Campling, L., Richardson, B. and Smith, A.) ‘Governing labour standards through free trade agreements: limits of the European Union’s Trade and Sustainable Development chapters’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 57(2): 260-277
  • 2018 (with Elizabeth Havice), ‘The Global Environmental Politics and Political Economy of Seafood Systems’, Global Environmental Politics, 18(2), 72-92.
  • 2018 (with Alex Colas), ‘Capitalism and the Sea: Sovereignty, Territory and Appropriation in the Global Ocean’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 36(4): 776-794.
  • 2018 (Harrison J, Barbu M, Campling L, Ebert FC, Martens D, Marx, A, Orbie, J, Richardson B, Smith A), ‘Labour Standards Provisions in EU Free Trade Agreements: Reflections on the European Commission’s Reform Agenda’, World Trade Review.
  • 2018 (Barbu, M., Campling, L., Smith, A., Harrison, J. Richardson, B.) ‘The Trade-Labour Nexus: Global Value Chains and Labour Provisions in European Union Free Trade Agreements’, Global Labour Journal, 9(3): 258-280.
  • 2018 (Smith, A., Barbu, M., Campling, L., Harrison, J. and Richardson, B.) ‘Labour regimes, global production networks and European Union trade policy: international labour standards and export production in the Moldovan clothing industry’, Economic Geography, 94(5): 550-574.
  • 2018 (with David Quentin), ‘Global Inequality Chains: Integrating mechanisms of value distribution into analyses of global production’, Global Networks, 18 (1): 33–56.
  • 2017 (with Elena Baglioni), ‘Natural resource industries as global value chains: Frontiers, fetishism, labour and the state’, Environment and Planning A, 49(11): 2437–2456.
  • 2017 (third author with O. Maury, L. Campling, H. Arrizabalaga, O. Aumonte, L. Bopp, G. Merino, D. Squires, W. Cheung, M. Goujon, C. Guivarch, S. Lefort, F. Marsac, P. Monteagudo, R. Murtugudde, H. Österblom, J.F. Pulvenis, Y. Ye, B.J. van Ruijven), ‘From shared socio-economic pathways (SSPs) to oceanic system pathways (OSPs): Building policy-relevant scenarios for global oceanic ecosystems and fisheries’, Global Environmental Change, 45: 203-216.
  • 2017 (with Elizabeth Havice), ‘Where chain and environmental governance meet: Inter-firm strategies in the canned tuna global value chain’, Economic Geography, 93:3, 292-313.
  • 2017, ‘Stratégies d’accumulation impérialiste de la pêche européenne du thon’, Alternatives Sud (journal of CETRI – Centre Tricontinental), 24(1): 133-157.
  • 2016 'Trade politics and the global production of canned tuna', Marine Policy, 69 (July): 220-228.
  • 2016 IGLP Law and Global Production Working Group (), 'Recognising the Constitutive Role of Law in Global Value Chains: A Research Manifesto', London Review of International Law, 4 (1): 57-79.
  • 2016 (with Satoshi Miyamura, Jonathan Pattenden and Benjamin Selwyn), ‘Class dynamics of development: a methodological note’, Third World Quarterly, 37(10): 1745-1767.
  • 2016 (with Jens Lerche) (), ‘Introduction to the Special Issue The Political Economy of Agrarian Change: Essays in Appreciation of Henry Bernstein’, Journal of Agrarian Change, 16(3): 365–369.
  • 2016. Béné, C., R. Arthur, H. Norbury, E.H. Allison, M. Beveridge, S. Bush, L. Campling, W. Leschen, D. Little, D. Squires, S.H. Thilsted, M. Troelli and M. Williams. ‘Contribution of Fisheries and Aquaculture to Food Security and Poverty Reduction: Assessing the Current Evidence’, World Development, 79: 177–196.
  • 2016 (with James Harrison, Ben Richardson and Adrian Smith), ‘Can labour provisions work beyond the border? Evaluating the effects of EU free trade agreements’, International Labour Review, 155(3): 357-382.
  • 2014 (with Elizabeth Havice), ‘The problem of property in industrial fisheries’, Journal of Peasant Studies, 41(5): 707-727.
  • 2014. Abbott, Joshua, James L. Anderson, Liam Campling, Røgnvaldur Hannesson, Elizabeth Havice, M. Susan Lozier, Martin D. Smith, Michael J. Wilberg , ‘Steering the Global Partnership for Oceans’, Marine Resource Economics, 29(1): 1-16.
  • 2013 (with Elizabeth Havice), ‘Articulating upgrading: Island developing states and canned tuna production’, Environment and Planning A, 45 (11): 2610 – 2627.
  • 2013. Maury, O., K. Miller, L. Campling H. Arrizabalaga, O. Aumont, Ö. Bodin, P. Guillotreau, A. J. Hobday, F. Marsac, Z. Suzuki and R. Murtuggude, ‘A global science-policy partnership for progress towards sustainability of oceanic ecosystems and fisheries’, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 5 (3-4): 314–319.
  • 2013 (with Elizabeth Havice), ‘Mainstreaming environment and development at the WTO? Fisheries subsidies, the politics of rule-making and the elusive “triple win”’, Environment and Planning A, 45(4): 835 – 852.
  • 2013. ‘Debating modes of production and forms of exploitation: Introduction to symposium on Jairus Banaji’s Theory as History’, Historical Materialism, 21(4): 1-8.
  • 2012. (with Patrice Guillotreau and Jan Robinson), ‘Vulnerability of small island fishery economies to climate and institutional changes’, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 4(3): 287-291.
  • 2012. ‘The Tuna ‘Commodity Frontier’: Business Strategies and Environment in the Industrial Tuna Fisheries of the Western Indian Ocean’, Journal of Agrarian Change, 12(2-3): 252-278.
  • 2012 (with Elizabeth Havice and Penny Howard), ‘The Political Economy and Ecology of Capture Fisheries: Market Dynamics, Resource Access and Relations of Exploitation and Resistance’, Journal of Agrarian Change, 12(2-3): 177-203.
  • 2010 (with Elizabeth Havice), ‘Shifting Tides in the Western Central Pacific Ocean Tuna Fishery: The Political Economy of Regulation and Industry Responses’, Global Environmental Politics, 10(1): 89-114.
  • 2010 ‘Editorial introduction to the Symposium on Giovanni Arrighi’s Adam Smith in Beijing’, Historical Materialism, 18(1): 31–38.
  • 2007 (with Elizabeth Havice), ‘Industrial Development in an Island Economy: US Trade Policy and Canned Tuna Production in American Samoa’, Island Studies Journal, 2(2): 209-228.
  • 2007 (Stefano Ponte, Jesper Raakjær and Liam Campling), ‘Swimming Upstream: Market Access for African Fish Exports in the Context of WTO and EU Negotiations and Regulation’, Development Policy Review, 25(1): 113-138.
  • 2006. ‘A Critical Political Economy of the Small Island Developing States Concept: South-South Cooperation for Island Citizens’, Journal of Developing Societies, 22(3): 235-285.
  • 2006. (with Henry Bernstein) ‘Commodity Studies and Commodity Fetishism II: “Profits with Principles?”’, Journal of Agrarian Change, 6(3): 414-447.
  • (with Henry Bernstein) (2006) ‘Commodity Studies and Commodity Fetishism I: Trading Down’, Journal of Agrarian Change, 6(2): 239-264.
  • 2006 (with Michel Rosalie), ‘Sustaining Social Development in a Small Island Developing State: the Case of Seychelles’, Sustainable Development, 14: 115-125.
  • 2004, ‘Editorial Introduction to the Symposium on Marxism and African Realities’, Historical Materialism, 12(4): 51–66.
  • 2004. (with Michel Rosalie), ‘Socio-economic Development in Seychelles: An Overview’, Seychelles Medical and Dental Journal, 7(1): 7–12. Republished in NeuroToxicology (2020) 81:  224-229.


Other publications


Current Doctoral Students:

1st Supervisor

  • Dara Leyden, (with Adrian Smith), ‘The struggle for social upgrading: A case study of electronics GVCs in Thailand’. ESRC +3 award, London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (LISS DTP) commenced October 2020.



  • Hyunjung Kim (with Elena Baglioni), ‘Rethinking Sovereign Territoriality in Hybrid Governance: Governing mobile labour in Korea and Taiwan’s distant water fisheries’, QMUL studentship commenced October 2020.
  • Siddharth Chakravarty (with Elena Baglioni), ‘A comparative study of firm strategies in seafood commodity frontiers in India’. QMUL studentship commenced October 2021.
  • Caterina Rossi (with Isadora Cruxen), ‘Diving into the Blue: Ocean Governance and Finance in Belize’. LISS DTP commenced October 2023
  • Maximilian Hofmann (with Elena Baglioni), ‘Translocal labour regimes: The case of Bangladeshi migrant workers in Jordan’s apparel export sector’. QMUL studentship commenced October 2023.
  • Laura Maghețiu (with Shreya Sinha), ‘The Invisible Supply-Chains of Going Net Zero: Carbon Credits, Agroforestry and Land Concentration in Uruguay’. QMUL studentship commencing January 2024.


2nd Supervisor

  • Hyunpyo Hong (with Paul Copeland), ‘The EU Trade Policy and Strategy towards Asian Economies: International Political Economy Approaches to Services and Investment’. Commenced October 2020.
  • Rahul Maganti (with Ravi Ahuja, Alex Colás) ‘Labour, Law and Logistics in Bombay Port: Changing Employment Relations from 1945 to Present’. Centre for Modern Indian Studies, University of Gottingen.

Completed PhD Students:

  • Dr Zafer Ornek, ‘Studying ‘just transition’ and labour in the emergence of electronic vehicle production networks in Germany.’. Awarded 2023
  • Dr Jonathan Jones‘The political economy of a port logistics labour regime in England, 2000-2019’. (with the School of Geography QMUL and International Transport Workers’ Federation). ESRC 1+3 award commenced October 2014. Awarded 2021.
  • Dr Clair Quentin, ‘A materialist political economy of international corporate tax reform’. Awarded 2020.
  • Dr Ioana Jipa-Musat, ‘A Study of Institutional Change within the Romanian National Political Economy with a Focus on Elites, International Forces and Labour’. Awarded 2020
  • Dr Steffen Fischer, ‘Labour Regimes, Embeddedness and Commodity Chains: Liberia’s Iron Ore and Rubber Industries’. Awarded 2016.
  • Dr Aidan Wong‘The Politics of Urban Waste Collection and Recycling Global Production Networks in Singapore and Malaysia’. Awarded 2014. Winner of the Best Dissertation award for 2014 of the American Association of Geography’s Economic Geography Speciality Group; winner of the 2014 PhD Prize of the Economic Geography Research Group, Royal Geographical Society.

Public Engagement

Liam's research on the global tuna industry, the international trade regime and developing countries, and his ongoing policy collaboration with development agencies, trade unions and NGOs (a combination of commissioned and pro-bono work), has contributed to several impacts. Three sets of impacts were highlighted in his REF2013 Impact Case Study (rated ‘Outstanding’) on International trade fisheries and development: (1) influencing trade policy, regulation and legislation to support developing countries, including at the WTO; (2) improving labour conditions in tuna processing facilities in Papua New Guinea; and, (3) influencing public debate and understanding of fisheries industry and policy.  He has continued this work, which was submitted as a REF2021 Case Study, summarised in Who owns the fish? Global value chains in the fishing industry

A second thread of work is on labour standards in EU FTAs. In an ESRC-funded project Working Beyond the Border: European Union Trade Agreements and International Labour Standards, Liam worked with colleagues at QMUL and Warwick to shape debate and policy regarding the European Union’s (EU’s) approach to Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) in its Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

More recently, Liam has collaborated with Trade Justice Movement to advance strategic thinking on trade-climate policy, bridging academics and civil society in the lead up to COP21 with How trade can support climate action: a 2021 agenda for the UK, which was followed in 2022 by setting up a UK Climate and Trade Commission (UKCTC) and producing Towards a Fair and Strategic Trade and Climate Policy.

Liam has undertaken external commissioned research for a number of organisations: Board of Investment of Mauritius; Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); Commonwealth Secretariat; Department for International Development; Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission; East African Community; European Parliament; International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD); Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations; International Transport Workers Federation; Marine Resources Assessment Group;  Ministry of Environment & Natural Resources and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Seychelles; Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA); Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat; Seychelles Fishing Authority; United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD); TradeMark Southern Africa.

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