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Department of Geography 

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Berndt Christian, Prof. Dr.

Head of Unit

Economic Geography Unit
Department of Geography
University of Zurich - Irchel
Winterthurerstr. 190
CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland









Consultation hour:

Thursdays 10 - 11 am


I started my position as Professor in Economic Geography at the Department in March 2010. Before coming to Zurich I had a professorship in Economic Geography at the University of Frankfurt. Previous steps in my academic career include the University of Cambridge (UK) where I obtained my PhD, the place of my “Habilitation”, the Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, and for a short spell as a Visiting Scholar the University of California, Los Angeles.

Research interests

Geographies of Marketization

From the beginning of my academic career I have been interested in approaches which offer alternatives to orthodox mainstream economics and traditional economic geography. Theoretically, my current work is perhaps best described as straddling the boundaries between political economic and cultural economic approaches to the geographies of economies. In recent years I have been working on the practical realization of economic thinking, above all with regard to processes of marketization. In collaborative work with Marc Boeckler, Frankfurt, we spell out our perspective on marketization and economization under the label "geographies of marketization". pdf: 188KB (PDF, 269 Kb)

Labor Geographies

This is a longstanding empirical focus of my research. Still widely neglected in the German context, I regard an understanding of labor relations and labor markets as indispensable, if one intends to get a better grip at the transition from a world consisting of a mosaic of bounded territorial economies towards a still developing global network economy.  My take on this transition is to conceptually contrast relatively stable constellations (welfare state, territorial capitalisms, national labor institutions) with constellations characterized by movement and fluidity (i.e. labor migration in different segments of the labor market). In this context, my current work focuses on two areas, low-wage service activities (e.g. commercial cleaning, private care) on the one hand and labor relations in the so-called creative economy.

Transnational markets and commodity chains

My interests in north-south issues received new impetus with my Habilitation project on the Mexican-US-border, a region regarded as a laboratory for the study of the tensions which surface when “south” and “north” meet in a global economy. I work on corporate offshoring, production networks, labor migration and global commodity chains (e.g. maquiladora industry, cross-border horticulture commodity chains), and have collaborated internationally and across the disciplines. Regionally, I focus on the Nafta region (USA and Mexico), and Germany. Recently, the EU/Northern Africa border area has started to become another regional emphasis.