Professor Genevieve LeBaron
Department of Politics and International Relations
Professor of Politics
Full contact details
Department of Politics and International Relations
Genevieve LeBaron is Professor of Politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations.
Her research draws from international theory in order to understand forced labour and labour standards in the global economy. Based on original research gathered through field-based methods including ethnography, surveys, interviews, and supply chain mapping, her research investigates the vital role of forced labour in contemporary business, exploring why and how it emerges and the reasons for its resilience. She is particularly interested in how the changing nature, power, and ownership structure of corporations is impacting labour standards in the global economy. She also researches the effectiveness of corporate social responsibility and state-based regulation in combatting forced labour in supply chains.
Genevieve’s research has attracted international recognition within and beyond academia. She was elected to the College of the Royal Society of Canada in 2020 and has received several prizes, including the British Academy’s Rising Star Award, UK ESRC Future Research Leaders fellowship, and multiple best paper awards. She has been included in the 2018 UK Top 100 Corporate Modern Slavery Influencers and the 2017 global Top 100 Human Trafficking & Slavery Influence Leaders lists, alongside world leaders from the UK and US governments and industry leaders from companies like Apple and Ford. Her research has been covered widely in the media, including by The New York Times, Financial Times, Forbes, The Guardian, The Economist, and the BBC.
She has successfully completed research grants from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC); British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences; British Academy / UK Department for International Development (DFID); Ford Foundation; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC); Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF); and Joseph Rowntree Foundation, amongst others.
Genevieve joined the University of Sheffield as Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow in 2013. Prior to that, she was a Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellow at the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia. She has held visiting positions at around the world, including at Yale University, the International Labour Organization in Geneva, the University of California, Berkeley, Osgoode Hall Law School, and Sciences Po, Paris.
In 2015-2016, she held the prestigious Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery Fellowship at the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, part of the MacMillan Center at Yale University, and continues to lead the Yale Modern Slavery Working Group, based at the Center.
Further information about Genevieve can be found at genevievelebaron.com
- Research interests
Genevieve’s work is at the forefront of the emerging evidence base on forced labour, human trafficking, and slavery in the global economy. Since 2008, she has been investigating the business of forced labour, and its role and dynamics within domestic and global supply chains.
She currently leads two major research grants. The first, Understanding the Impact of Covid-19 on Modern Slavery in Global Garment Supply Chains, has been awarded by the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre through the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and runs through March 2021. It will be conducted in collaboration with the Worker Rights Consortium. The second, Restructuring Business Models and Supply Chains to Promote Fair, Equitable Labour Standards and Worker Rights in the Face of Pandemic, funded by Humanity United will be conducted in collaboration with colleagues at Yale University and Stanford University. It runs through August 2021.
She is also Co-Investigator on the SSHRC grant, The Hidden Costs of Global Supply Chains, based at the University of British Columbia’s Global Reporting Centre. This grant brings scholars and journalists together to research and report on the complexities of global trade, and includes partnerships with The New York Times, Frontline, NBC News, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Google News Lab, and others.
Watch: a short documentary of Professor LeBaron's research commissioned by Yale University
Watch: Dr LeBaron interviewed on The MacMillan Report
- Combatting Modern Slavery Why Labour Governance is Failing and What We Can Do About It. Polity.
- Researching Forced Labour in the Global Economy Methodological Challenges and Advances. Proceedings of the British Aca.
- Protest Inc. The Corporatization of Activism. John Wiley & Sons.
- Seeing and not-seeing like a political economist : the historicity of contemporary political economy and its blind spots. New Political Economy. View this article in WRRO
- Blind spots in IPE : marginalized perspectives and neglected trends in contemporary capitalism. Review of International Political Economy. View this article in WRRO
- Modern slavery in business: The sad and sorry state of a non-field. Business & Society. View this article in WRRO
- Using social reproduction theory to understand unfree labour. Capital and Class. View this article in WRRO
- Gender and forced labour : understanding the links in global cocoa supply chains. Journal of Development Studies. View this article in WRRO
- Capitalism and unfree labour : a review of Marxist perspectives on modern slavery. Review of International Political Economy. View this article in WRRO
- Big audit firms as regulatory intermediaries in transnational labor governance. Regulation and Governance, 13(2), 260-279. View this article in WRRO
- Governance gaps in eradicating forced labor: From global to domestic supply chains. Regulation and Governance, 13(1), 86-106. View this article in WRRO
- States and the Political Economy of Unfree Labour. New Political Economy, 24(1), 1-21. View this article in WRRO
- The domestic politics of corporate accountability legislation: struggles over the 2015 UK Modern Slavery Act. Socio-Economic Review. View this article in WRRO
- Steering CSR Through Home State Regulation: A Comparison of the Impact of the UK Bribery Act and Modern Slavery Act on Global Supply Chain Governance. Global Policy, 8(S3), 15-28. View this article in WRRO
- Governing Global Supply Chain Sustainability through the Ethical Audit Regime. Globalizations, 14(6), 958-975. View this article in WRRO
- Benchmarking global supply chains: the power of the ‘ethical audit’ regime. Review of International Studies, 41(5), 905-924. View this article in WRRO
- Unfree Labour Beyond Binaries. International Feminist Journal of Politics, 17(1), 1-19.
- Reconceptualizing Debt Bondage: Debt as a Class-Based Form of Labor Discipline. Critical Sociology, 40(5), 763-780.
- Subcontracting is Not Illegal, but is it Unethical? Business Ethics, Forced Labour, and Economic Success. Brown Journal of World Affairs, 20(2), 237-242.
- The Rise of a ‘New Slavery’? Understanding African unfree labour through neoliberalism. Third World Quarterly, 34(5), 873-892.
- The Social Cost of Environmental Solutions. New Political Economy, 18(3), 410-430.
- Confining Social Insecurity: Neoliberalism and the Rise of the 21st Century Debtors' Prison. Politics & Gender, 8(01), 25-49.
- The political economy of the household: Neoliberal restructuring, enclosures, and daily life. Review of International Political Economy, 17(5), 889-912.
- Prison Labour, Slavery, and the State, Revisiting Slavery and Antislavery (pp. 151-177). Springer International Publishing
- The Coming and Current Crisis of Indecent Work, The Coming Crisis (pp. 43-51). Springer International Publishing
- Slavery, Human Trafficking, and Forced Labour: Implications for International Development, The Palgrave Handbook of International Development (pp. 381-398). Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Women and unfree labour in the global political economy (pp. 353-364). Edward Elgar Publishing
- The Politics of Private Transnational Governance by Contract Routledge
Conference proceedings papers
- Innovations in the Business Models of Modern Slavery: The Dark Side of Business Model Innovation. Academy of Management Proceedings, Vol. 2018(1) (pp 13381-13381)
- Research group
I currently supervise the following PhD students:
Remi Edwards: Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility: Exploring the Power of Worker-Driven Alternatives to Address Modern Slavery in Global Value Chains [ESRC funded]
Charline Sempere: Why Are Women Workers More Vulnerable to Forced Labour? [ESRC funded]
Ed Pemberton: The Domestic Politics of Global Consumption [second supervisor]
- Teaching activities
At the University of Sheffield, I have taught courses on global political economy, gender and the global labour market, including: Business, Labour and Migration (POL 6609); Forced Labour, Human Trafficking and Slavery in the Global Economy (POL 3159); The Political Economy of Globalisation (POL 612); and Gender in the Global Political Economy (POL3145).
Before moving to Sheffield, I have taught courses in international political economy, international relations, business, and labour studies at Yale University, York University (Toronto), and Simon Fraser University.
- Professional activities
- Winner, Best Paper Award, Academy of Management Conference 2018.
- Winner, Best Business Ethics Paper Award, Academy of Management Conference 2018.
- Reference Group, United Nations knowledge platform, Delta 8.7.
- British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award (2015-2017).
- ESRC Future Research Leader (2016-2019).
- Visiting Research Fellow, Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour, International Labour Organization (2015).
- Yale University Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Fellow (2015-2016).
- Development Board Member, Social Responsibility Alliance.
- Reviewer for publishers including Oxford University Press, Duke University Press, Cambridge University Press, Polity, Zed Books.
- Reviewer for funding bodies including the European Commission, UK Economic and Social Research Council, Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.