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The University of Southampton
Modern Languages and LinguisticsPart of Humanities

'Globalisation on the Ground' Seminar

17:00 - 19:00
18 March 2015
Avenue Campus Building 65/Room 1177 University of Southampton Highfield Road Southampton SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Dr Aude Campmas on (023) 8059 9407 or email .

Event details

Part of the annual seminar series for Centre for Transnational Studies (TNS).

This paper interrogates some of the intersections between work, globalisation and youth. It is based on empirical research following the trail of a pair of flip-flops from the oil fields of Kuwait, to petrochemical plants in South Korea, to production centres in SE China and to Ethiopia, the largest market for Chinese manufactured plastics where the trail ends on a landfill site outside of Addis. Focussing on three characters who appear along the trail – a Chinese factory worker, an Ethiopian smuggler and a ‘scratcher’ who reworks the Addis garbage – the paper proposes a reworking of globalisation for the opportunities for manoeuver its instabilities might provide for those who struggle in their own ways to navigate it.

Speaker information

Professor Caroline Knowles, Goldsmiths, University of London. Caroline writes about migration and circulations of material objects – some of the social forces constituting globalization. She is particularly interested in cities, having done research in London, Hong Kong, Beijing, Fuzhou, Addis Ababa, Kuwait City and Seoul. Author of many books and papers, she specializes in visual, spatial and biographical methods, often working with photographers and artists, most recently with Michael Tan (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), and Douglas Harper (Duquesne University, Pittsburg). She is co-author, with Douglas Harper of Hong Kong: Migrant Lives, Landscapes and Journeys, published (2009) by the University of Chicago Press. Her most recent book, Flip-Flop: A Journey Through Globalisation’s Backroads, is published by Pluto Press in 2014 in connection with a website that displays the flip-flop trail through the photography of artist Michael Tan. She recently held a Leverhulme fellowship, ‘From Oil to Garbage: Navigating the Flip-flop Trail’. She works with Ho Wing Chung, at the City University Hong Kong, on ESRC project, ‘What calculations and Strategies Drive Young Migrants? An Investigation of the Traffic between London, Hong Kong and Beijing’, and with Roger Burrows, Rowland Atkinson, Tim Butler and Mike Savage on ‘The Very Affluent Worker: A Study of Everyday Life in the Alpha Territory’.

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