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Department of Development Studies

Dr Alessandra Mezzadri

BA (LA Sapienza); MSc, PhD (London)


Alessandra Mezzander
Department of Development Studies

Lecturer in Development Studies

SOAS South Asia Institute

Academic Staff, SOAS South Asia Institute

Centre for Gender Studies

Member, Centre for Gender Studies

Neoliberalism, Globalisation, and States

Research Cluster Member

Labour, Movements and Development

Research Cluster Member

Dr Alessandra Mezzadri
Email address:
0207 898 4533
SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Office Hours:
Wednesday 11-1pm


Alessandra holds degrees in Economics from Universita’ degli Studi La Sapienza of Rome, and in Development Studies (SOAS), where she completed a PhD on the production of cheap labour in the Indian export-oriented garment industry. She has done external consultancy work for DFID, UNIDO and ActionAid-UK, on issues such as poverty, global labour standards and gender. She writes and/or teaches on issues related to global commodity chains and production networks; informality and informalisation; labour standards and CSR; inequality, gender and globalisation; and reproductive labour.


Courses Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Lorenza Monaco, Bringing Operaismo to Gurgaon: a study of labour composition and resistance practices in the Indian Auto industry
  • Nithya Natarajan, Globally-Directed and Locally-Experienced: the Impact of Global Health Governance upon Tobacco Farmers in Tamil Nadu (working title)

Alessandra also teaches  in:


Alessandra has done research and fieldwork in India. Her research interests focus on globalisation and processes of labour informalisation; materialist approaches to global commodity chain analysis and global industrial systems, labour standards and CSR; gender and feminist theory; and the political economy of India. She has investigated in depth the Indian garment industry and explored its different regional labour regimes and informalisation modalities, illustrating the different ways in which sweatshops are formed and reproduced.

She is a member of the Neoliberalism, Globalisation, and States and the Labour, Movements and Development departmental research clusters, of the South Asia Centre and of the Gender Centre. She is co-investigator for the project ‘Labour standards and the working Poor in China and India’, and sole investigator for the British Academy project ‘The global Village? Homeworking in the global economy’.


Book Chapters

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2010) 'Assessing the Effectiveness of Corporate Social Responsibility as a Tool for ‘Poverty Reduction through Productive Activities’: The Case of the Delhi Garment Cluster.' In: Growth, Exports and Technological Change in Developing Countries. Vienna: UNIDO, pp. 148-165. (UNIDO Research and Statistics Branch Working Paper 26/2009)

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2009) ''Neoliberalism, Industrial Restructuring and Labour: Lessons from the Delhi Garment Industry'.' In: Saad Filho, Alfredo and Yalman, Galip L., (eds.), Economic Transitions to Neoliberalism in Middle Income Countries- Policy Dilemmas, Economic Crises, Forms of Resistance. Routledge.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2008) 'Feminise without Unionise: the Indian Garment sector and its lack of solidarity.' In: Missing Links in Sustainable Development: South Asian Perspectives. Islamabad: SDPI/Sama, pp. 105-130.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2007) 'The limitation of corporate social responsibility in the Indian garment sector: a case study from the Delhi industrial area at the end of the Multi Fibre Agreement.' In: At the crossroads: South Asian Research, Policy and Development in a Globalised World. Islamabad: SDPI/Sama, pp. 16-35.


Mezzadri, Alessandra (2015) 'A ‘song of the wage’ for Rana Plaza.' New Internationalist .

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2015) ''Free to stitch, or starve: capitalism and unfreedom in the global garment industry'.' Open Democracy: Beyond Trafficking and Slavery .

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2014) 'Backshoring, local sweatshop regimes and CSR in India.' Competition and Change, 18 (4). pp. 327-344.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2014) 'Cambodian sweatshop protests reveal the blood on our clothes.' The Conversation UK .

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2014) 'Indian Garment Clusters and CSR Norms: Incompatible Agendas at the Bottom of the Garment Commodity Chain.' Oxford Development Studies, 42 (2). pp. 217-237.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2014) 'Are Ethical Initiatives Successful in the Indian Garment Industry? A Focus on Homeworkers.' Development Viewpoint (83).

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2012) 'Reflections on Globalisation and Labour Standards in the Indian Garment Industry: Codes of Conduct Versus ‘Codes of Practice’ Imposed by the Firm.' Global Labour Journal, 3 (1). pp. 40-62.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2010) 'Globalisation, informalisation and the state in the Indian garment industry.' International Review of Sociology, 20 (3). pp. 491-511.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2009) 'The global footloose proletariat and the financial crisis: reflections on the contradictions of export-oriented industrialisation in India.' Global Labour Column (5).

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2008) 'How Globalised Production Exploits Informal-Sector Workers: Investigating the Indian Garment Sector.' Development Viewpoint (12).

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2008) 'The rise of neo-liberal globalisation and the ‘new old’ social regulation of labour: the case of Delhi garment sector.' The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, 51 (4). pp. 603-618.


Mezzadri, Alessandra (2015) 'Garment Sweatshop Regimes: The Informalisation of Social Responsibility over Health and Safety Provisions', Working paper 30/2015. CDPR.

Book Reviews

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2014) 'Review of 'At work in the informal economy of India: a perspective from the bottom up', by Jan Breman (2013).' Journal of Agrarian Change, 14 (3). pp. 466-470. (Forthcoming)

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2011) 'Review of 'Africa's Informal Workers: collective agency, alliances and transnational organising in urban Africa’ edited by Ilda Lindell.' Journal of Modern African Studies, 49 (2). pp. 344-345.

This list was generated on Tue Oct 6 00:35:39 2015 BST.