Tag Archives: Labour

Dr. Emily Grabham at Osgoode: “Remaindered Lives”

“Time, ‘Remaindered Lives’, and the 26 Week Qualifying Period”
Talk by Dr. Emily Grabham, Reader in Law at Kent Law School
Monday, September 28, 2015
Room 2027 @ Osgoode 

event poster, all info included in post Abstract: 
In a recent article published in South Atlantic Quarterly, Neferti Tadiar describes the experiences of apparently ‘unskilled’ women labourers in manufacturing centres in Mexico and China as the ‘remaindered lives’ of global capital. Tadiar’s forceful and eloquent account contrasts with the stories of capital’s total seizure of life that can be found in much global north thinking on the present economic moment, stories dominated by entrepreneurs, artisans, and cultivated selves. Arguing that the new political economy of life overlooks the racialised ‘broader immiserative logic’ that creates experiences of life as essentially ongoing degradation, Tadiar reminds us of the surplus and waste that is needed for capital to expand. Life, experienced by some as a project, portfolio or career in particular economic contexts, is experienced by many instead as ‘fate playing’ and wastage.

Yet ‘remaindered lives’ are legally as well as politically or economically achieved. This paper argues that a combination of often outlandishly short contracts with time-related qualifying conditions on employment rights contributes to many women’s experiences not only of work, but also of life, as fateful, full of unanswered hopes and essentially wasted chances. The right to claim ‘family friendly’ rights in UK law is often de-limited by a qualifying period of 26 weeks (6.5 months) work. Yet women working across a range of sectors in the UK find it increasingly hard to obtain contracts of over 3 months. For racialised and immigrant women, obtaining permanent or semi-permanent work is fraught with particular difficulty. Drawing on interviews of women in precarious work, I outline the strangely productive effects on lives that happen when new contractual practices meet apparently marginal provisions in apparently progressive labour legislation. Through a renewed focus on legal technicalities, the hope is that we can continue the work of accounting for the production of ‘remaindered lives’ through the regulation of labour.

About Dr. Emily Grabham (from her profile page at Kent Law School, found here):

BA (Law) University of Cambridge; LLM Queen’s University, Canada; MSc (Gender, Society & Culture) Birkbeck College, London; PhD (Law) University of Kent. Qualified Solicitor.

Emily Grabham is a Reader in the Law School. Emily’s primary research areas include labour law, law and time, interdisciplinary perspectives on labour and value, and feminist legal theory. She is particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches to legal analysis, drawing on methods and perspectives from legal anthropology, feminist theory, science and technology studies, and critical legal theory. Her current research includes:

1. Law and time. Emily’s forthcoming monograph Doing Things with Time (University of Toronto Press, 2016) draws on perspectives from actor-network theory and legal anthropology, as well as empirical legal research, to think about how legal temporalities are ‘brewed’ in UK and Canadian Law. Case studies include debates about ‘progression’ and ‘likelihood’ in the context of HIV law, ‘work-life balance’ in labour law, and ‘transition’ in the context of transgender legal rights.

2. Work-life balance. Her current project investigates the development and rationale of ‘work-life balance’ laws as a means of resolving tensions in unpaid care and work, drawing on legal ethnography, doctrinal analysis, and feminist legal theory. This feminist genealogy of work-life balance law in the UK is partially funded through an ESRC ‘Future Research Leaders’ award:Balancing Precarious Work and Care.

3. Regulating Time Network. With Sian Beynon Jones (Sociology, University of York UK), Emily co-ordinates the AHRC-funded scholarly network Regulating Time: New Perspectives on Regulation, Law and Temporalities. This interdisciplinary network investigates how law and regulation are shaped by dominant concepts of time.

Emily is also co-founder (with Judy Fudge) of the Gendering Labour Law Research Network.

She is a member of the peer review colleges of the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. She sits on the editorial board of Feminist Legal Studies.

NIP [two that look interesting…] employment equity & 'women's work'

Employment Equity in Canada: The Legacy of the Abella Report 

Carol Agócs, ed

Carol Agócs is Professor Emerita at UWO Poli Sci (read her biographical info here).  The table of contents (here) looks great.  Articles by Gerald Hunt, David Rayside and Donn Short, Marcia Rioux and Lora Patton, Mary Cornish, Fay Faraday and Jan Borowy, Raj Anand, inter alia, and a forward by Justice Abella herself!

“Informative and evidence-based, this book celebrates the legacy of the Abella Report, while raising critical questions about the continuing challenges of achieving workplace equality.”

Colleen Sheppard, Director, McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism

from the publishers page here 

Publisher’s page at U of T Press

Examining the evidence of nearly thirty years, the contributors – both scholars and practitioners of employment policy – evaluate the history and influence of the Abella Report, the impact of Canada’s employment equity legislation on equality in the workplace, and the future of substantive equality in an environment where the Canadian government is increasingly hostile to intervention in the workplace. They compare Canada’s legal and policy choices to those of the United States and to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and examine ways in which the concept of employment equity might be expanded to embrace other vulnerable communities. Their observations will be essential reading for those seeking to understand the past, present, and future of Canadian employment and equity policy.

from the publishers page here

book coverBeyond Caring Labour to Provisioning Work
by Sheila M. Neysmith, Marge Reitsma-Street, Stephanie Baker Collins, and Elaine Porter also from U of T Press, publisher’s page here.
Although women have long been members of the labour force, the proportion of domestic, caring, and community work they provide compared to men or the state has yet to decrease substantially. Beyond Caring Labour to Provisioning Work offers a powerful new framework for understanding women’s work in a holistic sense, acknowledging both their responsibilities in supporting others as well as their employment duties.

Beyond Caring Labour to Provisioning Work is based on a four-year, multi-site study of women who are members of contemporary community organizations. The authors reveal the complex ways in which these women define and value their own work, investigating what supports and constrains their individual and collective efforts. Calling on the state to assist more with citizens’ provisioning responsibilities, Beyond Caring Labour to Provisioning Work provides an excellent basis for new discussions on equitable and sustainable public policies. (here)

Vol 4 of {openaccess} Feminists@Law Journal is out…

Vol 4, No 1 2014 Cover Art by Hannah Tiernan on Feminists@Law websitewith fabulous Table of Contents. Come on – you don’t really want to keep grading, do you?  Feminists@law’s all online format means that they can publish “multimedia” work, that is, talks and similar items – see the last section of the ToC.

Vol 4, No 1 2014.


Introduction: Gendering Labour Law  Judy Fudge, Emily Grabham

This special section of feminists@law is the outcome of a workshop, called ‘Gendering Labour Law’, held at Kent Law School on June 20 and 21, 2013. The workshop marked the first collaborative effort of participants in the nascent Gender Labour Law Research Network (GLLRN), which is being launched simultaneously with the publication of this collection. The GLLRN, the workshop and this special section emerge from a collaboration between Emily Grabham and Judy Fudge, supported by the Leverhulme Trust and Kent Law School, which is designed to cultivate feminist and critical labour law scholarship and research.

Preface  Ann Stewart

Legal Constructions of Body Work Ann Stewart

Abject Labours, Informal Markets: Revisiting the Law’s (Re)Producti

on Boundary

Prabha Kotiswaran

Research Note: Bingo and Feminist Political Economy Kate Bedford

Research Note: Rethinking Feminist Engagements with the State and Wage Labour Donatella Alessandrini

Unpaid Care, Paid Work and Austerity: A Research Note Nicole Busby

The Strange Temporalities of Work-Life Balance Law Emily Grabham

Gender and the Idea of Labour Law Joanne Conaghan

Labour, Value and Precarity in the Age of Austerity: Measuring Labour and Rethinking Value Lisa Adkins (audio)

BDS as a Feminist Issue

It Is Our Belief That Palestine is a Feminist Issue…

David Lloyd

Palestinian Feminist Critique and the Physics of Power: Feminists Between Thought and Practice

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian

Bodies, Buses and Permits: Palestinians Navigating Care

Rana Sharif

Some Reflections on BDS and Feminist Political Solidarity

Brenna Bhandar


Feminism Then and Now   Camille Kumar, with an Introduction by Sarah Keenan


Black and White: History of Racial Identity in Italy

Gaia Giuliani

The Contribution of Feminism to Contemporary Public Debates About Law

Nicola Barker, Sinead Ring, Maria Drakopoulou, Rosemary Hunter

The Policing and Prosecution of Rape: What Do We Know and How Should Our Knowledge Shape Policy and Practice?

Betsy Stanko, with Louise Ellison, Martin Hewitt and Harriet Wistrich

Women Workers: Is Equality Enough? Judy Fudge in feminists@law

Former Osgoode professor, now Landsdowne Chair in Law at UVic Law and presently a Leverhulme Visiting Professor at Kent Law, Judy Fudge recently gave an open lecture as part of her visit.  Feminists@law has the text in their most recent (open access!) issue, here.  Judy has an important body of work mainly in the area of employment and labour law.  See her faculty bio here.

The article delivers an interesting and important message about changing times and goals, arguing that equality as “equality between the genders” is inadequate in the context of an increasingly fragmented labour market.  Etc!  Enjoy:

Women’s claims to equality in employment have become more nuanced and complex as the contours of the gender order have been redrawn to reflect the growing diversity between women and a deterioration in what has been the normative or standard employment relationship for men. Using Canada and the United Kingdom to illustrate the changes in the labour market and gender order, the lecture calls into question the potential of equality norms, however expansive, to solve the problems women workers face in the wake of global austerity.

via Women Workers: Is Equality Enough? | Fudge | feminists@law.

Happy [fore]Mothers Day: recent history as inspiration

We are those lions

Somehow the interweb delivered me to a page where I read about Jayaben Desai and the Grunwick strike of 1976.  What a story and what a woman!

What you are running here is not a factory, it is a zoo. But in a zoo there are many types of animals. Some are monkeys who dance on your finger-tips, others are lions who can bite your head off. We are those lions, Mr manager.

“We have shown,” she said, “that workers like us, new to these shores, will never accept being treated without dignity or respect. We have shown that white workers will support us.”

The issues certainly seem familiar, don’t they?

Here’s Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in The Independent memorializing Jayaben Desai – she too points to the significance of the mass union support Jayaben Desai’s struggle mobilized. You can find some audio of her here from BBC Radio (at 2:49 and other spots). The BBC program is from after her death in December 2010, and features her son and BBC reporters who covered the strike. It’s a bit annoying (“did the family suffer?” asks the host, because she was away, and they are obsessed with how “insignificant” she looked (short! sari! handbag!) compared to her “spirit” – hey, let’s just make some radical bollywood musical about it (imagine – huge miners + saree wearing handbag carrying tiny strikers, dancing, singing, clashing with police – the story is too good to be true for these purposes) and dispense with that particular aspect of it, ok?).  For me this story provided more than just inspiration – it’s a piece of the puzzle of my own family history – why did my family leave London in the 1970’s? Mrs. Desai and Grunwick indicate the kind of racism that minority women in London/England faced at the time.  My mother wanted out.  She found it more congenial in Toronto. But she still had a really hard time finding work….

The page that I found first is from the Sepia Mutiny blog.  They have links to this neat hidden herstories project from England that involved youth in a video/magazine project to unearth some neglected heroines.