Incorporating Labour Research into Studies of Global Value Chains: Lessons from India's Auto Industry

  • Tom Barnes Institute for Religion, Politics, and Society Australian Catholic University
  • Krishna Shekhar Lal Das Department of Civic and Ethical Studies, College of Social Science and Humanities, Wolkite University, Ethiopia
  • Surendra Pratap Centre for Workers Education, New Delhi


It is widely recognised that labour has been downplayed in the literature on global value chains (GVCs) and global production networks (GPNs). While several scholars have tried to bring labour “back in” to GVC research, others suggest this agenda does not go far enough and fails to challenge mainstream political and economic assumptions. Taking its cue from calls for a “re-formulated research agenda” for labour in GPNs, this paper uses a case study of capital and labour relations in India’s rapidly growing automotive industry to po sit an analytical framework that can sufficiently recognise workers’ “co-constitutive” role in the operation, reproduction and restructuring of commodity chains dominated by powerful global corporations.