Research

Research

Economic Geography is about understanding the varied places and spaces that are formed and given shape when economic activities are performed and circulate. Theoretically, the Economic Geography research unit draws on approaches that offer alternatives to orthodox mainstream economics and traditional economic geography. Our work focuses on the geographies of global production and consumption, on labor markets and migration, and on the gendered and gendering nature of the spatial economy.

We get our inspiration from a pluralist, dynamic and open understanding of our discipline and study the economic geographies of our global age from three key research areas:

  • Labor geographies are a research field that is a perfect example for the salience of a geographical perspective on economic processes in our global age. In our engagement with labor markets and labor relations we conceptually distinguish between relatively stable constellations (welfare state, territorial capitalisms, national labor institutions) and constellations characterized by movement and fluidity (i.e. labor migration in different segments of the labor market).
     
  • Geographies of global commodity chains and transnational markets investigate the spatialities of global production, distribution and consumption. This includes the engagement with far-flung production systems of industrial firms, offshoring and nearshoring networks in the service sector, or the deeply unequal integration of southern agrobusinesses into the supply chains of transnational food processing companies and retailers.
     
  • Gender studies in economic geography explore the way gender shapes and is being shaped by economic and spatial activities. In our research, we investigate gender divisions in paid and unpaid labor arrangements, and their gendering effects on different scales, ranging from the home to the global labor market.

Regionally, our empirical work extents both to the global north and the global south. Members of the economic geography research group conduct research about Zurich and Switzerland, Germany, UK and Eastern Europe. Further geographical foci are the US, Mexico, Argentina and Tanzania. We have developed close ties to academics and researchers in these places and conduct collaborative research with our colleagues.