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School of Geography

Global development: re-thinking the future of work after the pandemic

Dr William Monteith, Lecturer in Human Geography at Queen Mary, is set to release an edited collection based on his research on experiences of informal and unwaged work in different regions of the world.

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Dhobi Ghat, Mumbai

Beyond The Wage: Ordinary Work in Diverse Economies is co-edited by Dr Monteith, Dr Philippa Williams, a Reader in Human Geography, also from Queen Mary’s School of Geography and anthropologist Dr Dora-Olivia Vicol.

Dr Monteith directs the MA Global Development and MSc Development and International Business courses at Queen Mary, which examine development from a global perspective, challenging the common use of Western historical experiences and categories as the universal templates against which the rest of the world is measured. The new book examines experiences of labour outside of the formal waged economy in order to open up new ways of thinking about the future of work and development:

“The collection brings together a community of researchers committed to asking different questions about the future of labour based on long-term engagements with workers in different regions of the world; from to Brazilian street vendors to Bangladeshi rickshaw drivers. We are very excited to introduce it to our incoming cohort of Global Development students in September.”

Dr Monteith is also undertaking research on changing experiences of work in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. This research will generate urgent evidence on impact of the pandemic on the working lives of EU migrants in London, with a focus on barriers to state support, and viable mitigation tactics. This project, conducted with the Work Rights Centre, will also provide an opportunity to reflect on the feasibility of more radical interventions for the future of work, including proposals for a universal basic income, which students are also asked to evaluate in modules on Global Development and Development and International Business.

The modules on offer at Queen Mary University of London are linked to broader development issues – from health pandemics to financial crises and climate change – which can no longer be understood outside of a global framework. Students on the course examine the connections between different forms of work in different regions of the world, and assess the extent to which new jobs in 'green economies' can deliver for all.