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Researching Forced Labour in the Global EconomyMethodological Challenges and Advances$
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Genevieve LeBaron

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266472

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266472.001.0001

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Understanding the Global Business of Forced Labour: An Introduction

Understanding the Global Business of Forced Labour: An Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Understanding the Global Business of Forced Labour: An Introduction
Source:
Researching Forced Labour in the Global Economy
Author(s):

Genevieve LeBaron

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266472.003.0001

This introductory Chapter provides an overview of the political, methodological, and ethical challenges of researching forced labour in the global economy tackled in this Volume. It argues that in spite of these challenges, researchers are pioneering fresh approaches to understanding the business of forced labour that are anchored in strong empirical methods, rather than outdated theoretical propositions or sensationalist newspaper headlines. This burgeoning and interdisciplinary body of research challenges conventional narratives about the nature and role of modern slavery. It reveals that rather than an individualised, randomly occurring human rights issue caused by the moral shortcomings and greed of unscrupulous employers, severe labour exploitation is a coherent and predictable feature of many sectors and regions within the global political economy. The methodological reflections contained within this Volume offer a resource for academics and practitioners seeking to understand forced labour, the factors that shape vulnerability to this phenomenon, and the variegated mechanisms through which businesses systemically profit from labour exploitation.

Keywords:   modern slavery, forced labour, research methods, global supply chains, global economy

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