2023 Spring Colloquium Speaker Series Dr. Alessandra Mezzadri

2023 Spring Colloquium Speaker Series

UB Department of Geography
Co-Sponsored by the Department of Global Gender and
Sexuality Studies and the Gender Institute

Dr. Alessandra Mezzadri
Reader in Global Development and Political
Economy, SOAS, University of London 

Friday, April 21, 2023, 3:15 pm
170 Academic Center

Dr. Mezzadri.

The afterlife of industrial work: Urban-to-rural labour transitions from the factory to the informal economy in northern India“


Abstract:  The COVID-19 pandemic has escalated processes of labour transition from industrial work to the informal economy, which have always characterized the life of the working poor. Mezzadri explores this kind of reverse transition, that is, when the Lewisian dream of having an industrial job comes to an end, and workers are forced into a reverse migration. The result of collaborative research with Dr. Kaustav Banerjee (AUD, Delhi), the presentation focuses on the post-industrial experiences of former Indian garment workers leaving the National Capital Region and moving back to Bihar.  Findings reveal that workers find alternative informal employment through caste or social networks whilst using land as a safety net. Farming and informal work are not alternative but rather complementary income and work strategies to
factory employment. By adopting a life-cycle approach to studying labour transitions across formal and informal employment domains, this analysis contributes to policy debates on decent work.

Bio:  Dr. Mezzadri holds degrees in Economics from La Sapienza, Rome, and in Development Studies from SOAS. She writes and teaches on issues related to inequality and trade; global commodity chains and production networks; labour informality, informalisation and labour regimes; global labour standards, corporate social responsibility and Modern Slavery; feminisms in development; gender and globalization; approaches to social reproduction and reproductive labour; and India’s political economy. Dr. Mezzadri has actively engaged with international organizations and NGOs such as the ILO, ActionAid, Labour Behind the Label, War on Want, SEWA-India and Anti-Slavery International on issues related to gender and work, global labour standards, anti-sweatshop campaigning and tackling modern slavery.