Date of Award

May 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Tod Rutherford


Intersectionality, Labor activism and agency, Labor Geographies, Social Reproduction, Thailand's Eastern Seaboard, Thai trade unions

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


This PhD dissertation project focuses on the collective agency of Thai organized workers—a group of regional migrant workers in one of Thailand’s most industrialized areas—whose labor geography and organizations were conditioned by Thai state-capital-labor relations. It examines how the social, political and geographical organizations of Thai workers shape their practices of labor activism. By linking workers’ ties to their place of origin with the new geography of automotive production in Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard, this dissertation examines the agency of workers through labor activism and its relationships to migration—a geographical mechanism that bridges production and reproduction across workers’ multi-sited households.

This dissertation builds on the critical traditions within Human Geography as well as the work of feminist geographers to center the role of households and cultural practices of labor activism. By bringing together processes of production and social reproduction often examined separately, it sheds light on the ways in which gender and class politics within labor activism are inextricably linked to the division of labor within spatially extended households of Thai migrant workers. It highlights how workers draw on their collective resources (i.e. the regional ethnic culture) and social reproductive network stretched across the geography of household reproduction, which sustain labor struggle strictly seen in the sites of production.


Open Access