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Labor, Geography of

  • By: Steven Tufts
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Studying how people reproduce themselves materially in different places has been and remains a major preoccupation of geographical inquiry. What people do to “make a living” varies greatly across noncapitalist and capitalist economies. Economic geographers studying capitalist economies have traditionally privileged the role that capital and its institutions play in shaping the economic landscape. Labor, too simply defined as physical work done for wages, has often been reduced to a factor of production purchased along with equipment and materials to produce new commodities. Although labor quickly became the primary location factor explored by researchers, it was not considered an active agent in the transformation of economic landscapes. In the mid 1990s, however, there were calls to consider labor as an active agent shaping economic space. ...

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