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Research Themes

Political Economy of Work

Political Economy of Work explores economic and social change, considering the state, market and society, as well as new systems of governance. We develop understandings of significant economic transitions as complex social, political and policy undertakings. One aim is to explore how forms of political power are developed, allocated, articulated, used and changed.

Our analyses aim to facilitate humane change processes and provide nuanced interventions that account for community diversity and the different impacts and experiences of change experienced by people based on a wide range of factors such as their gender, ethnicity, ability, age, socioeconomic status, health, education, location, and proximity to the change being undertaken. The fragmented, disruptive and uncertain futures in this changing world are considered in applied ways, involving knowledge translation with end-users.

A particular focus is on work in the regions.

What do we study?

  • Jobs, Work and Employment Futures
  • Labour in the context of socioeconomic transitions/climate crisis and disaster events
  • Labour market construction and developments
  • Labour mobility
  • Equality and diversity in policymaking
  • Union organisation, capacity and purpose
  • Regional governance, capacity and purpose

Theme Leader

Peter focuses on the political economy of work futures, bringing together two dimensions: first on collective organisation and representation, and second the changing patterns and relations of work and employment in different political contexts.

Peter is a leading international scholar (Australia and the UK) on the theory and empirical study of union renewal. Theoretically, Peter has developed a particular conceptualisation of renewal, recently elaborated in relation to unions as development actors and unions in transition. His research programme of work addresses the adaptation and innovation by trade unions, locally, nationally and internationally.

Peter has taken a lead in elaborating a political economy of skills development and occupational restructuring in traditional industrial economies, in the United Kingdom, across Europe and in Australia, considering the political economy of work practices and futures. He has developed a distinctive approach to locality studies, refining the extended case study method advocated by Michael Burawoy and others. By developing a focused analysis on the political economy of regions, Peter has laid the foundation for viewing labour as a subject rather than as an object. A recent focus is on new jobs, relations and identities enabled by the digital economy. Most recently, Peter is a lead RMIT/Victorian researcher on the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Award on Food Agility with digital innovation a core focus.


Associate Researchers

Deakin University
University of Tasmania
The University of Melbourne
Federation University
Federation University
The University of Sydney
The University of Melbourne


Growing Southern Gippsland

The ‘Growing Southern Gippsland’ project is a collaboration between the Bass Coast Landcare Network, RMIT University, Federation University Australia, Bass Coast Shire Council and the South Gippsland Landcare Network through funding from the Victorian State Government and the Victorian Centre for Climate Change Innovation.

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CRIMT is an interdisciplinary and interuniversity research centre which focuses on the theoretical and practical challenges of institutional and organizational renewal in the areas of work and employment in the global era.

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