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School of Geography

Dr Hannah Schling

Hannah

ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow

Email: h.schling@qmul.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 2752
Room Number: Geography Building, Room 208

Profile

I joined QMUL as a Lecturer in Human Geography in September 2019, after completing my ESRC-funded PhD in the Geography Department at King’s College London.

My research centres feminist and critical epistemologies to investigate systems of labour migration, questions of social reproduction, and the (re)production of class, gender and race within intersections of migration and labour regimes. Speaking to core debates within feminist, economic and labour geographies, my research examines systems of migrant labour in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), with particular focus on EU and non-EU workers in the Czech Republic’s export-oriented electronics manufacturing sector. With a focus on temporary work agencies and workers dormitories, I examine how new employment and labour management practices merge with new configurations of everyday life and workers social reproduction within a particular ‘post-socialist’ landscape. Within this focus, I centre the ways in which social and geographical inequality and unevenness are reproduced within the intersections of migration and labour regimes, and through grounded relations of social reproduction.

My research covers four themes:

  1. Integrating social reproduction within analysis of labour regimes and labour migration through a focus on workers’ dormitories and employer-provided housing;
  2. Emerging non-linear trajectories of labour migration within CEE and the EU’s uneven geographies of labour’s ‘free movement’;
  3. The reproduction of social difference within systems of labour and migration.
  4. The temporalities of labour and production

I use qualitative research methods and have experience of extensive ethnographic fieldwork centring migrant workers. I am particularly interested in the contribution ethnographic practice, feminist epistemologies and labour-focused research can make to economic geography.

My research cluster is EDS. I am also a member of the QMUL Centre on Labour and Global Production.

Teaching

I really enjoy teaching, sharing my research, and engaging with students on core contemporary questions and debates within human geography. I seek to embed attention to inequality and social justice within my pedagogic practice, and to create space for critical reflection on how we produce knowledge in and outside of the classroom. I currently teach on the following modules:

Undergraduate:

  • Spaces of Uneven Development (contributor)
  • Global Worlds (contributor)
  • Geographical Research in Practice (contributor)

Postgraduate:

  • Re-theorizing Global Development (module convener)
  • Global Working Lives (contributor)

 

Office: 208

My advice and feedback hours are: Mondays 11:00–12:00 and Wednesdays 11:00–12:00.

Research

Research Interests:

My research examines systems of migrant labour in Central and Eastern Europe, with particular focus on temporary work agencies and workers dormitories in the Czech Republic’s export-oriented manufacturing sector. Drawing on feminist geography, feminist political economy and critical economic geography, I centre questions of labour mobility, workers’ social reproduction, and the (re)production of labours’ differential, gendered and racialized, ‘disposability’.

My research currently spans three key areas:

Social reproduction.
Drawing on feminist and labour geography, I seek to centre the relationality of production and social reproduction as object for analysis. I undertake conceptual and empirical engagement with questions of social reproduction through research into workers dormitories and other forms of employer-provided housing employer. Centring questions of social reproduction, I examine how temporary work agencies, other labour intermediaries and workers’ dormitories operate across the everyday border between ‘work’ and ‘life’ in new ‘post-socialist’ configurations of mobile labour and globalised production. I ask how the organisation of workers’ social reproduction produces differentiated labouring temporalities, forms of ‘disposability’ and means of contestation. As such, I am interested in how the organisation of social reproduction enters into both the regulation of labour and the broader (re)production of gendered, racialised and classed labouring subjects.

Uneven geographies of intra-EU labour migration.
I am interested in emerging non-linear trajectories of labour migration and mobility within Central and Eastern Europe, as well as their relation to broader geographies of precarious work and uneven labour mobility across the EU. I ask how the vantage point of Central and Eastern Europe in general, and the Czech Republic in particular, opens fundamental questions around how the EU’s free movement of labour reproduces (rather than overcomes) Europe’s uneven geographies and differentiated labouring precarity.

The reproduction of social difference within systems of labour and migration.
Labouring precarity and forms of exploitation operate through the (re)production of social difference – gender, racialisation, nationality – in articulation with class. In asking how migration regimes intersect with labour regimes, I explore how immigration controls produce differentiated labouring subjects differently positioned within labouring markets. Secondly, in approaching these questions with a social reproduction lens, I ask how ‘foreignness’, gender and racialisation are reproduced in the relationality of value production and social reproduction.

The temporalities of labour and production.
I am interested in how the temporalities of labour and production are produced and contested across multiple scales, and conditioned by the organisation of workers social reproduction. From everyday, lived and embodied rhythms of the dormitory space and industrial shift system; to the labour regime’s circulation, assembly and dispersal of ‘permanently temporary’ migrant workers by the temporal imperatives of electronics production for export; through to the mobility strategies of migrant workers. I ask how the temporalities of labour are a terrain of struggle between labour and capital.

Publications

  • Schling, H. (2020). 'The dormitory'. In Frejlachova, K., Pazdera, M., Riha, T., and Spicak, M. (eds). (2020), Steel cities: Architectures of Logistics in East Central Europe. Park books and VI PER.

  • Andueza, L., Davies, A., Loftus, A., and Schling, H. (2020). 'The body as infrastructure'. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space

  • 2017. ‘(Re)production: Everyday Life in the Workers' Dormitory’. Society and Space. Online.

  • 2014. ‘Gender, Temporality, and the Reproduction of Labour Power: Women Migrant Workers in South China’. Sozial.Geschichte Online. 14