Nancy Worth

Associate Professor

EV1-229, ext. 43223

Nancy is a feminist economic geographer who is interested in work, social reproduction, inequalities, age and generations, and feminist theory. Theoretically, her interests lie in relationality and temporality, focusing on futurity, intergenerationality and precarity. Nancy is also concerned with research practice, including ethics, participation and innovative qualitative methods.

Key Areas of Graduate Supervision

I welcome applicants interested in the following areas—please email me to discuss your plans.
General areas: Economic Geography; Social Geography; Feminist Geography; Social Justice; Identities and Belonging
Specific topics: precarious and non-standard work, housing vulnerability, housing coping strategies (co-residence, co-ops, flat sharing, AirBnB and the gig economy), generations and the lifecourse, care and unpaid work, GenY, home and well-being, geographies of intimate life, lived experiences of austerity, feminist theory (including relational autonomy, theorizations of interdependence, futurities), identities and the economic (gender, class, race, sexuality, disability, etc) and the geographies of children and youth.

Current Courses
GEOG202 Geography of the Global Economy
GEOG225 Global Environment & Health

GEOG302 Geographies of Work & Employment

GEOG 336 Space, Power, and Politics: Citizenship in a Changing World
GEOG 436 Feminist Economic Geography

Previous Courses
GEOG 101 Geography & the Human Habitat

GEOG 222 Geographical Study of Canada

GEOG690 Geographic Thought & Methodology

Research Interests
Nancy’s research agenda as whole takes an identities approach to focus on issues of social justice and equity—the lived experience of the economic. From her work with young people on school to work transitions to more recent projects with young adults on precarious work and co-residence with parents, Nancy’s research centres on how age intersects with other social categories of difference, especially gender and social class, across space at various scales (including the workplace, home and the city)—understanding economic processes through the people who experience them. She looks forward to continuing her focus on young adulthoods and genY, moving beyond questions of how they are responding to economic crises and austerity and forward to questions about how this generation will change the workplace and social relations.

Recent Publications
Email for copies of papers

Edited Books:
Geographies of Identities & Subjectivities (2016) edited volume with Claire Dwyer for Springer’s Geographies of Children & Young People series, Tracey Skelton, editor-in-chief
Researching the Lifecourse: Critical Reflections from the Social Sciences (2015) edited collection with Irene Hardill, Policy Press
Intergenerational Space (2014) edited collection with Robert Vanderbeck, Routledge

Book chapters:

  • Worth, N. (Forthcoming) ‘Labour’ Contemporary Economic Geographies: Inspiring, Critical and Plural Perspectives Edited by Sarah Marie Hall and Jennifer Johns. Bristol University Press.
  • Worth, N. (2021) ‘Making sense of precarity: talking about economic insecurity with millennials in Canada’ Languages of Economic Crises, edited by Sonya Scott. Routledge [REPRINT]
  • Worth, N. (2019) ‘Precarious Work’ The International Encyclopaedia of Human Geography Elsevier.
  • Hill, J. & Worth, N. (2019) ‘Authentic Assessment and Feedback to Develop Self-Efficacy’ in The Handbook of Learning and Teaching in Geography Edited by Helen Walkington, Sarah Dyer and Jennifer Hill, London: Edward Elgar.
  • N. Worth (2017) ‘Coping with insecure work: Millennials and the intergenerational transfer of wealth and resources’ Millennial City: Trends, Implications, and Prospects for Urban Planning and Policy Markus Moos, Deirdre Pfeiffer & Tara Vinodrai (eds.) Routledge
  • N. Worth with V. Chouinard & L. Simard-Gagnon (2017) ‘Disabling cities’ Urbanization in a Global Context: A Canadian Perspective Linda Peake & Alison Bain (eds.) OUP
  • N. Worth (2015) ‘Age identity and the geographies of children and young people’ in N. Worth & C. Dwyer (eds) Identities and Subjectivities, Volume 4, in Skelton, T. (editor-in-chief) Geographies of Children and Young People Springer
  • N. Worth (2014) ‘Youth, relationality, and space: conceptual resources for Youth Studies from Critical Human Geography’ for Springer Handbook of Youth Studies

Journal articles:

  • Worth, N. (2021) “Going back to get ahead? Privilege and generational housing wealth” Geoforum Online early.
  • Worth, N. & Karaagac, E.A. (2021) ‘Accounting for absences and ambiguities in the freelancing labour relation’ Tijdschrift Voor Economische en Sociale Geografie. Online early.
  • Reid-Musson, E; Cockayne, D; Frederiksen, L. & Worth, N. (2020) “Feminist economic geography and the future of work” Environment and Planning A 52:7 pp. 1457-1468. (25%, authorship shared equally.)
  • Worth, N. & Karaagac, A. (2020) ‘The temporalities of free knowledge work: Making time for media engagement’ Time & Society 29 (4), 1024-1039. (66% contribution, including writing and project design)
  • Worth, N. (2020) ‘Public geographies and the gendered experience of saying ‘yes’ to the media’ The Professional Geographer Volume 72:4 pp. 547-555.
  • Tomaszczyk, A. & Worth, N. (2018) ‘Boomeranging home: understanding why millennials live with parents in Toronto, Canada’ Social & Cultural Geography 21:8, 1103-1121. (66% contribution, developed project, co-wrote chapter and developed drafts)
  • Worth, N. (2018) ‘Mothers, daughters and learning to labour: Framing work through gender and generation’ The Canadian Geographer 62:4 pp. 551-56.
  • Worth, N. (2018) ‘Making sense of precarity: talking about economic insecurity with millennials in Canada ’Journal of Cultural Economy 12:5 pp. 441-447.
  • N. Worth (2016) ‘Who we are at work: millennial women, everyday inequalities and insecure work Gender Place & Culture 23:9 pp. 1302-1314
  • N. Worth (2016) ‘Feeling precarious: millennial women and work’ Environment & Planning D: Society and Space 34:4 pp. 601-616
  • N. Worth (2014) ‘Student-focused assessment criteria: thinking through best practice’ Journal of Geography in Higher Education 38:3 pp. 361-372
  • N. Worth (2013) ‘Experimenting with student-led seminars’ PLANET (Journal of the Higher Education Academy)
  • N. Worth (2013) ‘Visual impairment in the city: young people’s social strategies for independent mobility’ Urban Studies 50:3 pp. 455-466
  • N. Worth (2012) ‘Making friends and fitting in: a social-relational understanding of disability at school’ Social & Cultural Geography 14: 1 pp. 103-123
  • N. Worth (2011) ‘Evaluating lifemaps as a versatile method for lifecourse geographies’ Area 43: 4 pp. 405-412
  • N. Worth (2009) ‘Understanding youth transition as becoming: identity, time and futurity’ Geoforum 40:6 pp. 1050-1060
  • N. Worth (2009) ‘Making use of audio diaries in research with young people: examining narrative, participation and audience’ Sociological Research Online 14:4
  • N. Worth (2008) ‘The significance of the personal within disability geography’ Area 40:3 pp. 306-314 (Short listed for the Area Prize for New Research in Geography 2008)

Current project:

Home/work: Understanding work at home freelancing in Toronto

SSHRC Insight Grant (2019-2023)

Millennials (born from 1980-1995) are now the majority of workers in Ontario; they are also the generation most likely to be freelancers. For many millennials, especially those who entered the workforce after the economic crisis of 2008-2009, uncertainty and flexibility in working life is an expected norm.

Rather than focus solely the economic consequences of freelancing, Home/work contends that it is critical to think beyond paid work to fully capture understanding of the lives of millennial freelancers. As young adults work hard to build their chosen careers, issues of social reproduction (especially childcare and unpaid work at home) become pressing concerns. Social reproduction is what allows the economy to function, so it is vital to connect paid/unpaid forms of labour to fully understand millennial freelancers’ working lives.

While we know that freelancing is a growing sector of the labour market, there is less understanding about the wider consequences of this change, including why millennials become freelancers, how they make sense of this form of labour—is it flexible, precarious or both, and how they manage freelancing with other forms of work at home.

Previous project:
GenY at Home: Well-being, Autonomy and Co-Residence with Parents
SSHRC Insight Development grant (2015-2017)
Anecdotally we know that some young Canadians (those in their twenties through early 30s) say they have not achieved financial independence from parents. We also know that young adults are "boomeranging" home - that is, living on their own for a while but then returning to the home of their parents or living with in-laws. Ontario has the highest rate of co-residence, where 50% of twenty-somethings in Ontario live with their parents.
This pattern is a recent social development in Canada; previous generations left home much earlier and in great numbers. Who is returning home and how do they feel about it? Are parents paying bills or are young adults paying their own way in the family home? Is it as much about care--for aging parents or recent kids--than it is about not finding work? Do young people want to buy their own homes? What are the complex reasons for, and consequences of, living at home? See more in the GenY at Home report