Dr. Dennis Arnold is a geographer trained in political economy and development studies. He completed his PhD in the Department of Geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2010). Dennis currently publishes and teaches on labour and migration; global production network analysis; geo-economics and geo-politics; and borders of continental Southeast Asia. His work has appeared in leading journals in geography, development studies and Asian studies, edited books, and a monograph published by the Human Rights in Asia Book Series (2007, Mahidol University).
Dennis is Assistant Professor (tenured) at the University of Amsterdam, Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development. Past positions include Lecturer/Assistant Professor of Globalisation and Development at Maastricht University (2012-2013); Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow on 'Precarious Work in Asia' at UNC-Chapel Hill (2011); Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellow (2008-2009); International Coordinator for the Thai Labour Campaign (2003-2006); and Researcher with the Asian TNC Monitoring Network (2003-2006). He has also completed research reports for international NGOs in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2015 and 2017.
Arnold, Dennis (2007) Capital Expansion and Migrant Workers: Flexible Labor in the Thai-Burma Border Economy, Nakornpathorn, Thailand: Mahidol University, Human Rights in Asia Series.
Arnold, Dennis and Martin Hess (2017) Governmentalizing Gramsci: Topologies of power and passive revolution in Cambodia’s garment production network, Environment and Planning A, available online first.
Arnold, Dennis (2017) Civil society, political society and politics of disorder in Cambodia. Political Geography, volume 60, available online first.
Arnold, Dennis and Stephen Campbell (2017) Labour regime transformation in Myanmar: Constitutive processes of contestation. Development and Change, 48(4):801-824.
Arnold, Dennis (2013) “Social Margins and Precarious Work in Vietnam,” American Behavioral Scientist. 57(4):468-487.
Arnold, Dennis and Joseph Bongiovi (2013) “Precarious, Informalizing and Flexible Work: Transforming Concepts and Understandings,” American Behavioral Scientist. 57(3):289-308.
Arnold, Dennis (2012) “Spatial Practices and Border SEZs in Mekong Southeast Asia,” Geography Compass, 6(12):740-751.
Arnold, Dennis and John Pickles (2011) “Global Work, Surplus Labor, and the Precarious Economies of the Border,” Antipode, 43(5):1598-1624.
Arnold, Dennis and Toh Han Shih (2010) “A Fair Model of Globalisation? Labour and Global Production in Cambodia,” Journal of Contemporary Asia, 40(3):401-424.
Arnold, Dennis (2006) “Free Trade Agreements in Southeast Asia,” Journal of Contemporary Asia, 36(2):195-216.
Arnold, Dennis and Kevin Hewison (2005) “Exploitation in Global Supply Chains: Burmese Migrant Workers in Mae Sot, Thailand,” Journal of Contemporary Asia, 35(3):319-340.
Arnold, Dennis (2017) “Labour Migration”, in Richardson, D. (Ed.) International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology. Wiley Blackwell and Association of American Geographers
Arnold, Dennis (2017) “Export Processing Zones”, in Richardson, D. (Ed.) International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology. Wiley Blackwell and Association of American Geographers.
Arnold, Dennis (2014) “Workers’ Agency and Power Relations in Cambodia’s Garment Industry,” in A. Luinstra, J. Pickles and A. Rossi, (Eds.) Toward Better Work: Understanding Labour in Global Supply Chains, London and Geneva: Palgrave Macmillan and International Labour Organization, pp. 212-231.
Arnold, Dennis (2013) “Burmese Social Movements in Exile: Labour, Migration and Democracy.” M. Ford (Ed.) Social Activism in Southeast Asia. London: Routledge, pp. 89-103.
Arnold, Dennis and Kevin Hewison (2006) “Exploitation in Global Supply Chains: Burmese Migrant Workers in Mae Sot, Thailand,” in Kevin Hewison and Ken Young (eds) Transnational Migration for Work, London: RoutledgeCurzon, pp. 314-339.
Arnold, Dennis and Dae-oup Chang (2017) “Trade unions and labor rights in Cambodia”, Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Cambodia, Katherine Brickell and Simon Springer (Eds), Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 191-201.
Arnold, Dennis (2008) “Street Vendors, Factories and Family Workers: Informalising Labour in Cambodia,” in D. Lee, A. Leong, R. Ofreneo and A. Sukumaran (Eds.) Asian Labour Law Review2008: Rights for Two-thirds of Asia, Hong Kong: Asia Monitor Resource Centre, pp. 107-124.
Arnold, Dennis (2006) “Toyota in Thailand: Capital and Labour in ‘Harmonious’ Globalised Production,” in Dae-oup Chang (ed.) Labour in Globalising Asian Corporations: A Portrait of Struggle, Hong Kong: Asian TNC Monitoring Network Book Series, pp. 215-246.
Arnold, Dennis (2006) “Samsung-Thailand: Avoiding Direct Capital-Labour Relations,” in Dae-oup Chang (ed.) Labour in Globalising Asian Corporations: A Portrait of Struggle, Hong Kong: Asian TNC Monitoring Network Book Series, pp. 131-152.
Arnold, Dennis (2006) “Les Travailleurs Birmans Immigrés en Thaïlande (Burmese Migrant Workers in Thailand)," in Frédéric Delorca (ed) Atlas Alternatif: Le monde à l'heure de la globalisation impériale, Paris: Le Temps des Cerises, pp 340-351.
Arnold, Dennis (2005) “The Situation of Burmese Migrant Workers in Mae Sot, Thailand,” in Ed Shepherd and Dae-oup Chang (eds) ATNC Outlook 2004: Asian TNCs, Workers and the Movement of Capital, Hong Kong: Asia Monitor Resource Centre, pp. 287-330.
Arnold, Dennis (2005) “Attracting FDI through the Spread of Free Trade Agreements: Unravelling the Rationale and Impact on Labour Conditions in ASEAN,” in Ed Shepherd and Dae-oup Chang (eds) ATNC Outlook 2004: Asian TNCs, Workers and the Movement of Capital, Hong Kong: Asia Monitor Resource Centre, pp. 177-222.
Arnold, Dennis, with Veasna Nuon (2015) “Cambodia Context Analysis,” Christelijk Nationaal Vakverbond (National Federation of Christian Trade Unions in the Netherlands; CNV), 73pp.
Arnold, Dennis and Soe Lin Aung (2011) “Exclusion to Visibility, Vulnerability to Voice: Informal Economy Workers in the Mekong Countries,” Oxfam Solidarity (Belgium), unpublished consultancy report, 50pp.
Arnold, Dennis (2008) “Review of Migrant Worker Program: Burmese Migrants in Thailand,” Norwegian Church Aid and Diakonia, unpublished consultancy report, June, 55pp.
Arnold, Dennis (2006) “Labour in Cambodia Post MFA,” Oxfam International Labour Group in Cambodia, unpublished consultancy report, July, 71pp.
Arnold, Dennis (2013) “Workers’ agency and re-working power relations in Cambodia’s garment industry,” Capturing the Gains Working Paper 24, Manchester: Capturing the Gains and The University of Manchester.
Arnold, Dennis (2004) “The Situation of Burmese Migrant Workers in Mae Sot, Thailand,” Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong, Southeast Asia Research Centre, Working Papers Series, No. 71.
Arnold, Dennis (2013) “Better Work or ‘Ethical Fix’? Lessons from Cambodia’s Apparel Industry,” Global Labour Column, No. 155, Global Labour University, November.
Arnold, Dennis (2008) “Creating Precarity: Labour Law in Cambodia,” Asian Labour Update, No. 66-67 (January-June), Hong Kong, Asia Monitor Resource Centre.
Arnold, Dennis (2005) “The Enterprise for ASEAN Initiative and Labour Conditions in Thailand,” Asian Labour Update, No. 57 (October-December), Hong Kong: Asia Monitor Resource Centre.
Arnold, Dennis (2005) “Textile and Apparel Sourcing: The Complexity behind Low-Cost Labour in Supply Chains,” Asian Labour Update, No. 54 (January-March), Hong Kong: Asia Monitor Resource Centre.
Arnold, Dennis (2005) “The Exploitation of Burmese Migrant Workers in Global Supply Chains,” CSR Asia Weekly, Vol. 1 Week 27.
Arnold, Dennis (2004) “Work, Rights and Discrimination against Burmese Migrant Workers in Thailand,” Asian Labour Update, No. 53 (October-December), Hong Kong: Asia Monitor Resource Centre.
Thailand’s Hidden Workforce: Burmese Migrant Women Factory Workers, Ruth Pearson and Kyoko Kusakabe (2014) in Journal of Contemporary Asia, 44(1):171-173.
On the Borders of State Power: Frontiers in the Greater Mekong Sub-region, Edited by Martin Gainsborough (2009) in Journal of Contemporary Asia, 2011, 41(4): 700-702.
Dennis' research focus is political economy and development, with particular reference to global production network analysis; labor, migration and citizenship, and borders and cross-border regionalization in Mekong Southeast Asia. He does fieldwork in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
The globalization of production has important implications for the kinds of work and positional power workers and communities may have. Dennis is interested in the new frontiers of globalized production created by the ever-expanding geographies of sourcing. This has implications for labor organizing, the effectiveness of factory and community-based monitoring campaigns, transparency in supply chains and the ability of other groups to press for workplace standards.
Dennis investigates the changing roles and relations among labor and migration, citizenship and communities. He distinguishes precarious work and social precarity to highlight linked processes that create or reinforce marginalization. Dennis applies these concepts to the study of textile and garment, construction and informal workers in the Mekong Countries.
The Greater Mekong Subregion is an emerging cross-border region that is governed through partial and irregular networks operating at multiple scales. Dennis utilizes border areas as case studies to understand localized spaces that, on the one hand, straddle and blur national boundaries through global connections, and on the other, redefine and reify borders, particularly in terms of flows of migrant labor and perceived geopolitical threats.
Dennis' current NWO-VENI research project (2013-2015), Social Protections and Precarious Work in Continental Southeast Asian Borderlands, explores these topics in Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Context and research problem, Veni research
Across much of continental Southeast Asia liberalisation has undermined institutions including the family, community, trade union and the state as sources of social support. Landlessness and land poverty are critical factors shaping these new social patterns in the sub-region. As a result, households, communities and individuals increasingly depend on labour markets and migrant workers for survival. Yet labour markets are typically not providing secure and stable employment, while workplace and state-backed social and labour protections are lacking or non-existent. Thus, workers increasingly depend on families and communities, or the very institutions undermined by liberalization, for access to goods, services and social protections.