SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Alessandra Mezzadri

BA (LA Sapienza); MSc, PhD (London)
  • Overview
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Publications


Alessandra Mezzander
Department of Development Studies

Senior Lecturer in Development Studies

Centre for Gender Studies

Member, Centre for Gender Studies

SOAS South Asia Institute

Academic Staff, SOAS South Asia Institute

Labour, Movements and Development

Programme Convenor

Neoliberalism, Globalisation, and States

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:
Academic Support 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.


Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Ayse Arslan, Low-Paid Industrial Workers in the Garment Industry, Un-Paid House-Workers in the Family: Women Workers in Turkey/Izmir
  • 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’.


Authored Books

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2017) The Sweatshop Regime: Labouring Bodies, Exploitation and Garments Made in India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Mezzadri, Alessandra and Lulu, Fan (2018) '‘Classes of Labour’ at the Margins of Global Commodity Chains in India and China'. Development and Change, (49) 4, pp 1034-1063.

Prentice, Rebecca and De Neve, Geert and Mezzadri, Alessandra and Ruwanpura, Kanchana N. (2017) 'Health and Safety in Garment Workers’ Lives: Setting a New Research Agenda'. Geoforum, (88) Jan, pp 157-160.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2016) 'Class, gender and the sweatshop: on the nexus between labour commodification and exploitation'. Third World Quarterly, (37) 10, pp 1877-1900.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2016) 'The informalization of capital and interlocking in labour contracting networks'. Progress in Development Studies, (16) 2, pp 124-139.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2015) 'Why inequality matters – for the rich and the poor'. The Conversation UK [Online].

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

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.

Book Chapters

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2017) 'Class, gender and the sweatshop: on the nexus between labour commodification and exploitation'. In: Pattenden, J. and Campling, L. and Miyamura, S. and Selwyn, B., (eds.), Class Dynamics of Development. Abingdon; New York: Routledge.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2017) 'Garment Sweatshop Regimes, the Laboring Body, and the Externalization of Social Responsibility over Health and Safety Provisions'. In: Prentice, Rebecca and De Neve, Geert, (eds.), Unmaking the global sweatshop: health and safety of the world’s garment workers. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, pp 173-199.

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'. Growth, Exports and Technological Change in Developing Countries. Vienna: UNIDO, pp 148-165.

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. Abingdon: Routledge.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2008) 'Feminise without Unionise: the Indian Garment sector and its lack of solidarity'. 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'. At the crossroads: South Asian Research, Policy and Development in a Globalised World. Islamabad: SDPI/Sama, pp 16-35.

Monographs and Working Papers

Lerche, Jens and Mezzandri, Alessandra and Chang, Dae-Oup and Ngai, Pun and Huilin, Ku and Aiyu, Liu and Srivastava, Ravi (2017) The Triple Absence of Labour Rights: Triangular Labour Relations and Informalisation in the Construction and Garment Sectors in Delhi and Shanghai.. London: SOAS University of London.

Mezzadri, Alessandra and Srivastava, Ravi (2015) Labour regimes in the Indian garment sector: capital-labour relations, social reproduction and labour standards in the National Capital Region. London: CDPR SOAS.

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 (2016) 'Review of: Labour State and Society in Rural India: A Class Relational Approach, by Jonathan Pattenden. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016.'. Journal of Agrarian Change, (16) 4, pp 737-740.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2016) 'Review of: ‘Gender, Development and Globalization: Economics As If All People Mattered’ (Second Edition) by Lourdes Benería, Günseli Berik and Maria S. Floro. Routledge, 2016.'. Gender & Development, (24) 2, pp 329-330.

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.


Mezzadri, Alessandra (2017) 'Machines: Watch this documentary to understand the working poverty of the sweatshop' The Conversation.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2017) 'Sweatshop Regime' The Page 99 Test.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2016) 'Modern slavery and the gendered paradoxes of labour unfreedom' openDemocracy [online].

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2016) 'Working poverty in many sizes: A survey of Delhi garment workers challenges key assumptions in the labour standards debate' Global Labour Column.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2015) 'Mr Modi and the working poor' SOAS South Asia Notes.


This list was last generated on Friday, 21st September 2018, 07:00 Europe/London.