I am an urban social and feminist geographer interested in the interconnections between inequalities, labor markets, and care work in North America. My research triangulates between power, space and social difference, mapping the ways in which social identities, both shape and become shaped by consequential geographies of power. In particular my research takes account of discourses and practices of gender, but in various projects I also address class, race/ethnicity, (dis)ability, national identities and sexualities. Generally my research focuses on four themes: (1) economic and social restructuring, local labor markets and workplaces, especially in terms of gender and femininities (e.g. office work, child care arrangements, and home health care work); (2) households, paid care work and ‘the home’, especially in terms feminist theories of ‘the state’, social policy formation and welfare systems; (3) the gendering of urban spaces, places and landscapes; and (4) the interconnections between critical theories, epistemologies and research methods, including the politics and ethics of doing research.
My recent and ongoing projects include:
I have a long-standing interest in the shifting geographies of care work. I have written a series of papers addressing the emergence of a neoliberal agenda for home care policy and its impact on the paid home care work experience. Primarily written with Isabel Dyck (Geography, University of London, Queen Mary), our work draws from an interdisciplinary project on the home as a site of long-term care in urban and rural locations across Ontario. We investigate home health care from the perspective of the paid home care workers – nurses, attendants, and personal support workers, as well as the clients and their family caregivers. Isabel and I have framed our papers around the home, risk and care ethics, the body (body work), and migration.
In earlier projects I have explored parents’ child care strategies and the work experiences of domestic workers/nannies. I have an ongoing interest in the shifting contours of welfare and care and the meaning of home associated with neo-liberal social policy reforms. This work raises questions about equality, social justice and the relationships between the state, citizenship, and collective versus individual responsibilities.
More recently I have focused on the migration of Registered Nurses in the US and the UK and I am currently looking at ways in which care work is stratified by intersectionality, especially race/ethnicity/immigration status, gender and education.
These include my Neoliberalization: States, Networks, Peoples (2007) edited with Kevin Ward (Geography, University of Manchester), published in the International Antipode/Blackwell Book Series. The book engages with theoretical concerns and empirical interrogations of the multi-dimensional and multi-scalar process of neo-liberalization through a series of spatially and substantively diverse case studies written by scholars from across the social sciences. We deliberately move away from the ‘ideological heartland’ of neoliberalism - the UK and the US - to address peripheries within the Global north, as well as ‘centers’ in the Global south. We aim to underscore the interconnections and uneven development of neoliberalism.
In the past I have also investigating social identities and the gendered urban geographies of office work in North American cities. This work explores the gendered employment, home-work linkages and socio-economic in large cities, and considers the social and cultural dimensions of workplace dynamics and the organization of firms. One strand is driven by questions of diversity, social justice and social policy aimed at the workplace, and I have addressed gender, class, disabilities and ethnicity in the context of employment equity in Canadian banks. Another strand involves a historical analysis of the constructions of urban femininities in US and Canadian white-collar workplaces in the context of social and technological change over the broad sweep of the 20th Century. This work was in collaboration with Kate Boyer (Geography, University of Southampton); we examined the co-constitution of gender, work and technology in the clerical workplace, and the feminization and the shifting meanings of clerical work, especially in the finance and insurance sector.
Last updated March 2013