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Power and Scale: The Shifting Geography of Industrial Relations Law in Australia

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In an increasingly complex literature exploring the geographies of socially constructed scale, interest has focused on the relationship between scale, power and the contested political terrains through which these relations are played out. In this paper, I argue that these interactions must be understood in specific contexts, where shifts in scale are inextricably linked to shifts in the sources and instruments of power. By applying a scale perspective to the analysis of recent industrial relations legislation in Australia, I show that the nature and direction of rescaling is “fixed” by the powers of institutional actors and the scope of their jurisdictions. I then draw on the distinctively scaled relations of the Australian context to assess the extent to which Australia's national rescaling processes can be seen as representing a process of convergence toward universal “spaces of neoliberalism”.

Keywords: industrial relations; legal geographies; neoliberalism; scale

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Centre for Strategic Economic Studies, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia;, Email:

Publication date: 2007-11-01

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