Investigating severe forms of labour exploitation presents a series of particular methodological challenges to researchers in the field, including access to respondents, credibility of data, reliability of measures, researcher ethics and the practical and political dimensions of study design. For researchers embarking on qualitative approaches – whether it involves interviews, ethnography and/or documentary forms of analysis – this chapter seeks to illuminate the potential of a discursive approach to understanding severe forms of labour exploitation. It aims specifically to help understand how severe forms of labour exploitation are variously constructed as an object of knowledge/s, and how this construction is always contingent upon socio-political con/texts. To this end it recommends the investigation of texts as data, proceeding to discuss some interpretive work generated from an early-stage analysis of media, government and civil society discourses surrounding the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015.
Caruana, R. (2018). The Role of Discourse Analysis in Researching Severe Labour Exploitation. In G. LeBaron (Ed.), Researching Forced Labour in the Global Economy, Methodological Challenges and AdvancesOxford University Press