The New Global Labour Studies: A Critical Review

  • Marissa Brookes University of California, Riverside
  • Jamie K. McCallum Middlebury College


The past two decades have seen a dramatic upsurge in sustained, cross-border labour activism, or labour transnationalism. Scattered across multiple disciplines and subfields, a new field of inquiry – the new global labour studies (NGLS) – has emerged as scholars seek to comprehend the causes and consequences of twenty-first-century labour transnationalism. This multi-disciplinary approach has provided a platform from which to analyse an emerging phenomenon. We assess relevant strands of this emerging field that focus on: a) new theories of labour power and corporate vulnerability, and b) worker agency and organising strategy. While these areas have produced robust findings, we argue that developing a more complete understanding of labour transnationalism and its outcomes will require scholars to produce a more explicit critique of mainstream political economy, sociology, political science and labour studies.

Author Biographies

Marissa Brookes, University of California, Riverside
Assistant Professor, Political Science
Jamie K. McCallum, Middlebury College
Assistant Professor, Sociology