School of Geography

Economic geographies of the city

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Global Apparel Research Programme (GARP)
This collection of research projects aims to understand the dramatic reconfiguration of the global garment and clothing industry and its impact on the urban and regional communities involved. Research has focused on London's garment sector, the apparel industry in East-Central Europe, and is currently being extended to examine the impacts of trade liberalisation in Europe, North America and Asia. For more information, see:

Work-Life ‘Balance’ and Gendered Geographies of Learning in the New Economy
This research explores gendered work-life conflicts amongst knowledge workers; the utility of different employer-provided work-life balance (WLB) arrangements for reconciling those conflicts; and the mechanisms through which the uptake of workers’ preferred WLB arrangements promotes and/or constrains routine learning and innovation processes within urban
and regional economies.  This research is based on ongoing fieldwork in the cities of Dublin, Cambridge and London.  For more information see Dr Al James’s webpage.

Work, Employment and Social Change in India’s New Service Economy
Based on ongoing fieldwork in India's National Capital Region (Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon) this research explores the lived experiences of India's young, educated, urban middle classes working in different sectors of India's new service economy; emerging patterns of career progression through cross-firm and cross-sectoral labour mobility; and the developmental role of different labour market intermediaries in mediating work and training practices, brokering employment relationships, and improving labour market outcomes for these workers. For more information see: Dr Al James’s webpage.

Islamic Finance: Charitable Giving in London’s East End
In the post-recessionary context of radically reduced public expenditure, this research seeks to document empirically the scale and scope of Islamic philanthropic economic networks in London’s East End, and their crucial role in mobilising community assets to help the poor and to encourage learning, entrepreneurialism and social cohesion.  Rejecting the presumption that ‘the economy’ can and should be theorised solely from the perspective of the formal spaces of western economies, this research instead seeks to learn from ‘alternative’ models of Islamic philanthropy rooted in South East Asia and the Middle East in order to ‘theorise back’ from these different economic spaces, institutions and practices, to explore their geographical (re)configuration in the UK context. This is a joint project involving Al James, Kavita Datta and Yara Evans (QMUL) and Jane Pollard (Newcastle).

Bringing it all back home? A Chinese bank going global in London
Since 1979 China has opened itself up to western capitalist economic norms and practices. This project examined the processes and relations of globalisation in a major Chinese financial institution. In particular, it examined the changing notions and practices of trust involved in disembedding from state control, embedding in a global financial city – London – and re-embedding in Beijing. The project was financed by a Dorothy Hodgkins award and conducted by Yajing Li. It can be downloaded here.