SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Dr Alessandra Mezzadri

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

Research Cluster 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
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Alessandra holds degrees in Economics from La Sapienza, Rome, and in Development Studies from SOAS, where she completed a PhD on the ‘making’ of cheap labour in the Indian garment industry, with an emphasis on the labour regime characterising the industry and its global and localised patterns of labour control. She writes and teaches on issues related to inequality and trade; global commodity chains and production networks; labour informality, informalisation and labour regimes; global labour standards, CSR and Modern Slavery; feminisms in development; gender and globalization; approaches to social reproduction and reproductive labour; and India’s political economy.

Alessandra has actively engaged with international organizations and NGOs such as the ILO, ActionAid, Labour Behind the Label, War on Want, SEWA-India and Anti-Slavery International on issues related to gender and work, global labour standards, anti-sweatshop campaigning and tackling modern slavery.

  • French: fair 
  • Spanish: fair 
  • Hindi: intermediate
  • Italian: mother tongue 


Programmes Convened
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

Alessandra also teaches  in:

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)
  • Roshni Menon
  • Francesco Formichella
  • Jai Bhatia
  • Daniel Fuchs
  • Sila Demirors
  • Wanida Aaltonen


Alessandra has done extensive fieldwork in India, across multiple urban, peri-urban and rural sites. Her earlier research work has focused on the architecture of production, regional labour regimes and localized patterns of labour control characterizing the Indian export-oriented garment industry; on the incorporation of India into the global garment commodity chain; and on the limitations of corporate labour standards for labour in global commodity chains and production networks. Her more recent work has focused on the specific features and complex organization of the ‘Sweatshop Regime’ in factories and home-based settings in India; on labour contracting in global production; on the links between productive and reproductive realms of work, and on the interplays between labour regimes, the labouring body and health outcomes. Her research has been funded by the ESRC-DfiD (project ‘Labour standards and the working Poor in China and India’) and by the British Academy (project ‘The global Village? Homeworking in the global economy’). She is the author of The Sweatshop regime: Labouring Bodies, Exploitation, and Garments Made in India (CUP, 2017). 

Alessandra is currently working on Marxian analysis as fieldwork method; on the links between social reproduction and informal labour debates; and on productive and reproductive temporalities of exploitation in labour-intensive industries, including post-work dynamics. She welcomes PhD applications with a focus on India’ informal economy, on social reproduction and its link to productive work; on the global garment industry; on the politics of global labour standards and Modern Slavery; and on gender and globalisation and/or global commodity chains and production networks and labour more broadly.


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For all press and media enquiries please call +44 (0)20 7898 4135 or email


Interviewed for radio broadcasting (BBC and Share Radio).

Available for
  • Radio
  • Press
  • Briefings
  • Short Term Consultancy
  • TV
Regional Expertise
  • South Asia
Country Expertise
  • India


Authored Books

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2020) The Sweatshop Regime: Labouring Bodies, Exploitation and Garments Made in India (paperback). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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


Mezzadri, Alessandra (2022) 'Social reproduction and pandemic neoliberalism: Planetary crises and the reorganisation of life, work and death'. Organization: The Critical Journal of Organization, Theory and Society, (29) 3, pp 379-400.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2022) 'Social Reproduction and Pandemic Neoliberalism: Planetary Crises and the Reorganization of Life, Work and Death'. Organization: The Critical Journal of Organization, Theory and Society. [Forthcoming]

Mezzadri, Alessandra and Newman, Susan and Stevano, Sara (2021) 'Feminist global political economies of work and social reproduction'. Review of International Political Economy. [Forthcoming]

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2021) 'A Value Theory of Inclusion: Informal Labour, The Homeworker and the Social Reproduction of Value'. Antipode, (53) 4, pp 1186-1205.

Stevano, Sara and Mezzadri, Alessandra and Lombardozzi, Lorena and Bargawi, Hannah (2021) 'Hidden Abodes in Plain Sight: The Social Reproduction of Households and Labour in the COVID-19 pandemic'. Feminist Economics, (27) 1/2, pp 271-287.

Barnett, Brian S. and Carlo, Andrew D. and Ruwanpura, Kanchana N. and Mezzadri, Alessandra (2021) 'The Invisible People Behind Our Masks'. Annals of Internal Medicine, (174) 4, pp 550-551.

Mezzadri, Alessandra and Majumder, Sanjita (2020) 'Towards a Feminist Political Economy of Time Labour Circulation, Social Reproduction & the ‘Afterlife’ of Cheap Labour'. Review of International Political Economy. [Forthcoming]

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2020) 'The Informal Labours of Social Reproduction'. Global Labour Journal, (11) 2, pp 156-163.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2019) 'On the value of social reproduction: Informal labour, the majority world and the need for inclusive theories and politics'. Radical Philosophy, (2) 4, pp 33-41.

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'. openDemocracy: Beyond Trafficking and Slavery.

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

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

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) 'Cambodian sweatshop protests reveal the blood on our clothes'. The Conversation UK.

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.

Edited Books or Journals

Mezzadri, Alessandra and Newman, Susan and Stevano, Sara, (eds.), (2021) Feminist global political economies of work and social reproduction. Review of International Political Economy: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group. [Forthcoming]

Mezzadri, Alessandra, (ed.), (2021) Marx in the Field. London: Anthem Press. (Frontiers of Global Political Economy and DevelopmentĀ Series).

Book Chapters

Baglioni, Elena and Campling, Liam and Mezzadri, Alessandra and Miyamura, Satoshi and Pattenden, Jonathan and Selwyn, Benjamin (2022) 'Exploitation and Labour Regimes: Production, Circulation, Social Reproduction, Ecology'. In: Baglioni, Elena and Campling, Liam and Coe, Neil M. and Smith, Adrian, (eds.), Labour Regimes and Global Production. Newcastle upon Tyne: Agenda Publishing, pp 81-100.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2021) 'India’s informal capitalism: social structures of accumulation, forms of exploitation and social reproduction in the Sweatshop Regime'. In: McDonough, Terrence and Kotz, David M. and Reich, Michael, (eds.), Handbook on Social Structure of Accumulation Theory, Edited by Terrence McDonough, Cian McMahon and David M. Kotz. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp 152-169.

Stevano, Sara (2021) 'Marx and the Poor's Nourishment: Diets in Contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa'. In: Mezzadri, Alessandra, (ed.), Marx in the Field. London: Anthem Press.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2021) 'Marx In The Sweatshop: Exploitation & Social Reproduction In A Garment Factory Called India'. In: Mezzadri, Alessandra, (ed.), Marx in the Field. London: Anthem Press, pp 63-76.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2021) 'Introduction: Marx’s Field as Our Global Present'. In: Mezzadri, Alessandra, (ed.), Marx in the Field. London: Anthem Press, pp 1-16.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2020) 'Sweatshop Economics, the Poverty of Trade Theory and the Making of Inequality Across Scales'. In: Dunn, Bill, (ed.), A Research Agenda for Critical Political Economy. Northampton: Edward Elgar, pp 91-105.

Baglioni, Elena and Mezzadri, Alessandra (2020) 'Labour Control Regimes and Social Reproduction: Some Reflections on the Strengths and Weaknesses of an Evolving Framework'. In: Hammer, Anita and Fishwick, Adam, (eds.), The Political Economy of Work in the Global South. London: Macmillan Education, pp 115-130.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2017) 'Class, gender and the sweatshop: on the nexus between labour commodification and exploitation'. In: Pattenden, Jonathan and Campling, Liam and Miyamura, Satoshi and Selwyn, Benjamin, (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'. In: Baptist, Simon, (ed.), 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

Mezzadri, Alessandra and Banerjee, Kaustav (2021) The afterlife of industrial work: Urban-to-rural labour transitions from the factory to the informal economy. Helsinki: UNU-WIDER Working Paper 2021/158.

Mezzadri, Alessandra and Majumder, Sanjita (2018) The ‘Afterlife’ of Cheap Labour: Bangalore Garment Workers from Factories to the Informal Economy. FEDI and Cividep Working Paper: .

Lerche, Jens and Mezzadri, 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. CDPR Working paper 30/2015.

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.

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.

Opinion Pieces / Media / Blogs

Penn, Helen and Mezzadri, Alessandra (2022) Nurture versus Capitalism: Why the child went missing from for-profit childcare.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2022) Neoliberal capitalism and the commodification of social reproduction, from our home to our classroom.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2021) Informal Employment and the Social Reproduction of Value.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2020) The Time and Gender of GVCs: 3 Critical Points on the GVC & Development Report 2019. In Online Symposium on Global Value Chains, Trade and Development, edited by Donatella Alessandrini, Clair Gammage, and Jeremmy Okonjo.

Mezzadri, Alessandra and Ruwanpura, Kanchana N. (2020) How Asia’s clothing factories switched to making PPE – but sweatshop problems live on.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2020) A crisis like no other: social reproduction and the regeneration of capitalist life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2019) All is revealed: how productivity barely covers anything in fast fashion prices..

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2019) Review of: 'We the Workers'. Directed by Wen Hai. New York: Icarus Films, 2017. 174 minutes..

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2019) Rana Plaza, Six Years On: We Will Not Shop Where We Cannot Struggle.

Mezzadri, Alessandra (2019) The march out of the sweatshop: on work and life after the garment factory.


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 Thursday, 19th May 2022, 12:54 Europe/London.