Katy Fox-Hodess
At the Dockers Club, Belfast, Northern Ireland; photo credit: Sergio Sousa

I joined the University of Sheffield as a lecturer in Industrial Relations in 2018 after completing my doctorate in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. I am currently Research Development Director of the Centre for Decent Work (CDW) and an Associate Fellow at the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI), as well as co-founder of the International Labour and Logistics Research Network.

My research and teaching interests include industrial relations, globalization, political sociology, political economy and social theory. My current writing projects draw on the work of Nicos Poulantzas to develop a non-orthodox theory of worker power able to account for its simultaneous grounding in economy, state and ideology.

I am currently leading a research project with colleagues at the Centre for Decent Work to analyse long-term workforce and management trends across public services. The project is funded by UNISON, the largest public services union in the UK, and seeks to support the union to develop a national Organising and Recruitment Strategy in order to deploy resources effectively to grow power and influence for members both in sectors and workplaces where the union is recognised and in strategically expanding areas such as early years and social care.

My PhD dissertation, Dockworkers of the World Unite: Transnational Class Formation and the New Labor Internationalism, examined the construction of ‘bottom-up’ labor internationalism by rank-and-file dockworker union activists affiliated to the International Dockworkers Council. The project was a global organizational ethnography  employing a nested multi-level comparison of union coordination in response to recent labor disputes in Europe (Greece, Portugal, England) and Latin America (Chile, Colombia). Spanning four years, the research, conducted in forty cities in twenty countries, is comprised of over eighty in-depth interviews, as well as participant observation at a dozen international meetings of dockworker union activists, and analysis of union archival documents and media reporting of key disputes. The project has received generous funding from a number of different sources, including the the International Dissertation Research Fellowship of the Social Science Research Council.

Articles based on my research have been published in the British Journal of Industrial Relations, Latin American Politics and Society, Work, Employment and Society, Global Labour Journal, Labor History and New Labor Forum. These papers have been awarded the Labor and Employment Relations Association James. G. Scoville Best International/Comparative Industrial Relations Paper Award (2018) and the American Sociological Association Section on Labor and Labor Movements’ Distinguished Scholarly Article Award (2018).