After a semester long course on these topics in the classroom, students will begin their trip with a visit to the main location of industrialisation success in Malaysia which is the state of Penang. The economic growth of this state is based on its electronics industry and the large influx of foreign multinational corporations which opened large factories there. This context will be the background for understanding industrialisation processes tied to participation in global production networks and its impact on local and foreign workers, labour conditions, and labour governance.
Next, the students will travel to Kuala Lumpur, the capital city, to understand the role of politics, namely the government, trade unions, and civil society organisations, and culture in the struggles and challenges of ensuring economic growth leads to positive outcomes for all people. In both locations, students will conduct their own research projects based on specific research questions related to these wider issues.
“I am very excited to begin this brand-new course that will take a group of students to Malaysia – it promises to be a great experience!” said Dr Gale Raj-Reichert who will be leading the field class module. “Students will gain a unique experience and set of skills by conducting field research in an emerging economy, analysing the information obtained, and presenting the analysis in an academic report,” she added.
Dr Raj-Reichert, whose research interests are on labour governance of global production networks in developing countries, said that “in this present era of contested globalisation, the study of economic geography is more important than ever before, as the uneven outcomes of economic activity have clear geographical or spatial and scalar effects.”
The new field class will be optional for third-year undergraduate students taking Geography BA and Human Geography BA courses, as part of a new module called Economic Futures: Malaysia Emerging.
Postgraduate students on the Development and Global Health MA and Global Development Futures MA/MRes programmes will also have the opportunity to take the class as part of the Researching Development in Practice: Malaysia Emerging module.