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Professor David Sadler


Vice-Principal (International)

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 3006
Room Number: Office of the Principal


David Sadler graduated in Geography at the University of Durham. He stayed there to complete his PhD and a post-doctoral fellowship, taking up a position as Lecturer at St David’s University College, Lampeter in 1987. He returned to Durham in 1989, and then in 2002 moved to the University of Liverpool.

At Liverpool he served as Head of the Department of Geography, Dean of the Faculty of Social and Environmental Studies, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. From 2010 to 2014 he was seconded to the role of Vice President (Academic) at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University based at Suzhou, PR China. In that time the university grew to become the largest international joint-venture higher education institution in China. He joined Queen Mary as Professor of Economic Geography and Vice Principal (International) in September 2014.  

His research is in the field of economic globalisation, uneven regional and urban development, and urban and regional policies.

David also has interests in the internationalisation of higher education and the impacts of transnational education on the student experience, research and knowledge exchange, and national higher education systems.


Research Interests:

My early research career explored the causes and consequences of de-industrialisation in old industrial regions, utilising north east England and other similar regions in western Europe as a series of windows through which to examine (often dramatic) processes of social and political change. Subsequently I studied the geography of changing production processes in a range of sectors, including energy, steel, and automobiles, and particularly the automotive components industry. In the 1990s, the opening-up of central and eastern Europe fundamentally changed the economic geography of Europe and I analysed the evolving pattern of production and regional development there, as these changes unfolded.

I was one of the founding editors of European Urban and Regional Studies in 1994, and served as editor for over a decade.

I have written about the role of trade unions and waged labour more generally as an active element in the ongoing restructuring of regional economies, and about labour internationalism. More recently, I have explored the geographical dimensions of corporate campaigning and of corporate social responsibility.



  • 1995 Europe at the margins: new mosaics of inequality (Hadjimichalis C and Sadler D, eds) Wiley, London (246pp + xii)
  • 1994 A place called Teesside: a locality in a global economy (Beynon H, Hudson R and Sadler D) Edinburgh University Press (209pp + xi)
  • 1992 The global region: production, state policies and uneven development (Sadler D) Pergamon, Oxford (274pp + xvi)
  • 1991 A tale of two industries: the contraction of coal and steel in the North East of England (Beynon H, Hudson R and Sadler D) Open University Press, Milton Keynes (135pp + xx)
  • 1991 Approaching human geography: an introduction to contemporary theoretical debates (Cloke P, Philo C and Sadler D) Paul Chapman, London and Guilford Press, New York (240pp + xii)
  • 1989 The international steel industry: restructuring, state policies and localities (Hudson R and Sadler D) Routledge, London (163pp + xii)

Selected journal papers, book chapters and reports

  • 2015 The challenges facing Chinese higher education - and why they matter OBHE (Observatory on Borderless Higher Education)
  • 2009 Neo-liberalising corporate social responsibility: a political economy of corporate citizenship (Sadler D and Lloyd S) Geoforum 40, 613-22
  • 2008 Revitalising the trade union movement through internationalism: the grassroots perspective (Ryland R and Sadler D) Journal of Organizational Change Management 21, 471-81
  • 2004 Australian trade unions and the politics of scale: re-constructing the spatiality of industrial relations (Sadler D and Fagan R) Economic Geography 80, 23-43
  • 2004 Corporate campaigning and corporate “social” responsibility: towards alternative spaces of citizenship? Antipode 36, 851-70
  • 2004 Cluster evolution, the transformation of old industrial regions, and the steel industry supply chain in North East England Regional Studies 38, 55-66
  • 2004 Trade unions, coalitions and communities: Australia’s Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and the international stakeholder campaign against Rio Tinto Geoforum 35, 35-46
  • 2003 Production systems and uneven development in east central Europe: the limits to regional economic management? pp 107-19 in Keating M and Hughes J (eds) The regional challenge in central and eastern Europe: territorial restructuring and European integration Peter Lang, Brussels
  • 2002 Networks of value, commodities and regions: reworking divisions of labour in macro-regional economies (Smith A, Rainnie A, Dunford M, Hardy J, Hudson R and Sadler D) Progress in Human Geography 26, 41-63
  • 2001 In search of regional industrial culture: the role of labour organisations in old industrial regions (Sadler D and Thompson J) Antipode 33, 660-86
  • 2001 The political economy and regional implications of energy policy in Britain in the 1990s Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 19, 3-28
  • 2000 Organising European labour: governance, production, trade unions and the question of scale Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 25, 135-52
  • 2000 Manufacturing industry pp 129-49 in Gardiner V and Matthews H (eds) The changing geography of the United Kingdom (third edition) Routledge, London
  • 2000 Concepts of class in economic geography pp 325-40 in Sheppard E and Barnes T (eds) A companion to economic geography Blackwell, Oxford
  • 1999 Internationalisation and specialisation in the European automotive components sector: implications for the hollowing-out thesis Regional Studies 33, 109-19
  • 1997 The global music business as an information industry: reinterpreting economies of culture Environment and Planning A 29, 1919-36
  • 1997 The role of supply chain management strategies in the "Europeanisation" of the automobile production system pp 311-20 in Lee R and Wills J (eds) Geographies of economies Arnold, London
  • 1995 Old industrial places and regions: the limits to reindustrialisation pp 133-48 in Hadjimichalis C and Sadler D (eds) Europe at the margins: new mosaics of inequality (Wiley, London)
  • 1995 National and international regulatory frameworks: the politics of European automobile production and trade pp 21-37 in Hudson R and Schamp E (eds) The new map of automobile manufacturing in Europe: new production concepts and spatial restructuring (Springer, Berlin)
  • 1995 "Europeanisation" in the automotive components sector and its implications for state and locality (Sadler D and Amin A) pp 39-61 in Hudson R and Schamp E (eds) The new map of automobile manufacturing in Europe: new production concepts and spatial restructuring (Springer, Berlin)
  • 1995 The North in the new Europe pp 207-23 in Evans L, Johnson P and Thomas B (eds) The Northern Region economy: progress and prospects in the North of England Mansell, London
  • 1994 The geographies of "Just-in-Time": Japanese investment and the automotive components industry in Western Europe Economic Geography 70, 41-59
  • 1994 State and market in eastern Europe: regional development and workplace implications of direct foreign investment in the automobile industry in Hungary (Sadler D and Swain A) Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 19, 387-403
  • 1993 The automobile industry and eastern Europe: new production strategies or old solutions? (Sadler D, Swain A and Hudson R) Area 25, 339-49
  • 1993 Place-marketing, competitive places and the construction of hegemony in Britain in the 1980s pp 175-92 in Kearns G and Philo C (eds) Selling places: the city as cultural capital, past and present (Pergamon, Oxford)
  • 1992 Redressing the balance: labour, the national state and spatially uneven development pp 325-54 in Cloke P (ed) Policy and change in Thatcher's Britain (Pergamon, Oxford)
  • 1992 Industrial policy of the European Community: strategic deficits and regional dilemmas Environment and Planning A 24, 1711-30
  • 1992 Employment change in UK steel closure areas during the 1980s: policy implications and lessons for Scotland (Hudson R, Sadler D and Townsend A) Regional Studies 26, 633-46
  • 1992 Beyond "1992": the evolution of European Community policies towards the automobile industry Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 10, 229-48
  • 1992 "Just-in-Time" production and the European automotive components industry  (Hudson R and Sadler D) International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management 22(2), 40-45
  • 1990 The social foundations of planning and the power of capital: Teesside in historical perspective Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 8, 323-38
  • 1990 State policies and the changing geography of the coal industry in the United Kingdom in the 1980s and 1990s (Hudson R and Sadler D) Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 15, 435-54
  • 1989 "It's all falling apart here": coming to terms with the future in Teesside (Beynon H, Hudson R, Lewis J, Sadler D and Townsend A) pp 267-95 in Cooke P (ed) Localities: the changing face of urban Britain (Unwin Hyman, London
  • 1988 Consett and Corby: what kind of a new era? (Boulding P, Hudson R and Sadler D)  Public Administration Quarterly 12, 235-55
  • 1987 National policies and local economic initiatives: evaluating the effectiveness of UK coal and steel closure area re-industrialisation measures (Hudson R and Sadler D) Local Economy 2, 107-14
  • 1987 Manufactured in the UK? Special steels, motor vehicles and the politics of industrial decline (Hudson R and Sadler D) Capital and Class 32, 55-82
  • 1986 Nationalised industry policies and the destruction of communities: some evidence from North East England (Beynon H, Hudson R and Sadler D) Capital and Class 29, 27-57
  • 1986 Contesting works closures in Western Europe's old industrial regions: defending place or betraying class?  (Hudson R and Sadler D) pp 172-93 in Scott A and Storper M (eds) Production, work, territory: the geographical anatomy of industrial capitalism (George Allen and Unwin, London)
  • 1985 Coal and dole: employment policies in the coalfields (Hudson R and Sadler D) pp 217-30 in Beynon H (ed) Digging deeper: issues in the miners' strike (Verso, London)
  • 1985 Communities in crisis: the social and political effects of steel closures in France, West Germany and the United Kingdom (Hudson R and Sadler D) Urban Affairs Quarterly 21, 171-86
  • 1985 Routine action, reproduction of social relations and the place market:  Consett after the closure (Robinson F and Sadler D) Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 3, 109-20
  • 1984 Works closure at British Steel and the nature of the state Political Geography Quarterly 3, 297-311
  • 1983 Region, class and the politics of steel closures in the European Community (Hudson R and Sadler D) Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 1, 405-28
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