The location and dynamics of cultural industries and their production systems.

I have done research on industrial and graphic design services in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, and also on advertising agencies in New York City. More recently my research focuses on processes of talent attraction and retention and skill formation in the fashion and art sectors in Toronto. I am also conducting research on new industry formation and displacement in Liberty Village, Toronto. Together with Norma Rantisi at Concordia University in Montreal, I am examining the unique geographic and regulatory factors that have fostered innovation in the circus in Montreal.

Urban cultural policies and new forms and scales of urban governance.

I have a particular interest in the shift towards more entrepreneurial/ neoliberal regimes of urban governance and on policies designed to support creativity and culture.

The spatial and temporal logic of commodity chains and networks, and ethical issues surrounding consumption.

Work emphasizes discourses, labour practices and corporate codes of conduct in the home furnishings and clothing commodity chains.

The body and the workplace.

I have done research on the construction of the body in the workplace, concentrating on both the clothing industry and the automobile industry. With respect to the automobile industry, my research emphasizes lean production, injury and the spatial reconfiguration of production processes. I have done research on how the restructuring of assembly lines and management practices has been accompanied by new discourses of the body and increased rates of injury.

Professor of Geography Canada Research Chair in the Cultural Economy (Tier II). 2004-2009


- Leslie, D. and S. Brail, 2011, “The productive role of quality of life: the case of fashion designers in Toronto”. Environment and Planning A. Forthcoming

- Leslie, D, Hunt, M, and Brail, B, 2011, “Attracting and Retaining Artistic Talent in Toronto: Cosmopolitanism, Cultural Diversity and Inclusion”. in Attracting and Retaining Talented and Creative Workers in Canadian Cities: The Social Dynamics of Economic Innovation. Ed. Jill Grant. University of Toronto Press. Forthcoming.

- Leslie, D. and Rantisi, N. 2011. “Creative Classes, Workers and Elites”. in The New Companion in Economic Geography. Ed. Barnes, T., Peck, J. and Sheppard, E. Oxford: Blackwell. Forthcoming.

- Leslie, D. and Hunt, M. 2011, “Home Environments: Aesthetics, Fashion, Status”. Encyclopedia of Housing and Home. Ed. Susan Smith Forthcoming

- Bourne, L., Britton, J. and Leslie, D. 2011, “The Greater Toronto Region: The Challenges of Economic Restructuring, Social Diversity, and Globalization”. In Canadian Urban Regions. Trajectories of Growth and Change Ed. Larry Bourne, Tom Hutton, Richard Shearmur, and Jim Simmons. Oxford University Press, pp. 236-268

- Economic Geography Workshop Participants, 2011, “Emerging Themes in Economic Geography: Outcomes of the 2010 Economic Geography Workshop”. Economic Geography. 87(2): 111-126

- Edensor, T, Leslie, D. Millington, S. and Rantisi, N. 2010, Eds. Spaces of Vernacular Creativity: Rethinking the Cultural Economy. London: Routledge.

- Edensor, Tim, Deborah Leslie, Steve Millington and Norma Rantisi, 2010, “Rethinking Creativity: Critiquing the Creative Class Thesis” in Edensor, Tim, Deborah Leslie, Steve Millington and Norma Rantisi, Eds. Spaces of Vernacular Creativity: Rethinking the Cultural Economy. Routledge. pp. 1-16

- Rantisi, N and Leslie, D. 2010, “Creativity by Design? The role of informal spaces in creative production” in Edensor, Tim, Deborah Leslie, Steve Millington and Norma Rantisi, Eds. Spaces of Vernacular Creativity: Rethinking the Cultural Economy. Routledge. pp.33-45

- Leslie, D. 2010, “Commodity chains”. Encyclopedia of Geography. Ed. Barney Warf. London: Sage.

- Rantisi, N. and Leslie, D. 2010, “Materiality and Creative Production: The Case of the Mile End Neighbourhood in Montréal” Environment and Planning A. 42: 2824-2841

- Leslie, D. and Rantisi, N. 2010. “Creativity and Place in the Evolution of a Cultural Industry: The Case of the Cirque du Soleil”. Urban Studies Published online November, 2010.

- Catungal, J.P. and Leslie, D. 2009, “Placing Power in the Creative City: Governmentalities and Subjectivities in Liberty Village, Toronto”. Environment and Planning A. 41(11): 2576-2594

- Catungal, J.P, Leslie, D. and Hii, Y, 2009, “Geographies of Displacement in the Creative City: the Case of Liberty Village, Toronto.” Urban Studies. 46 (5-6): 1095-1114 -

- Leslie, Deborah, 2008 Forthcoming, “Consumption”. International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. Ed. Rob Kitchen and Nigel Thrift. Elsevier. forthcoming

- Leslie, Deborah and Norma Rantisi, 2008, “Fostering a culture of design: insights from the case of Montreal, Canada”. Creativity and Innovation in the Cultural Economy. Ed. Paul Jeffcutt and Andy Pratt. London: Routledge. Forthcoming.

- Reimer, S. and D. Leslie. 2008, “Furniture Design and national imaginaries” Growth And Change. 39(1): 144-171

- Leslie, D. and N. Rantisi, 2006, “Governing the Design Economy in Montreal, Canada”. Urban Affairs Review. 40(5): 1-29

- Leslie, D. and S. Reimer, 2006, “Situating Design in the Canadian Household Furniture Industry”. Canadian Geographer. 50(3): 319-341

- Rantisi, N. and D. Leslie, 2006, “Branding the Design Metropole: the Case of Montreal, Canada”. Area. 38(4): 364-376

- Rantisi, N. Leslie, D. and S. Christopherson, 2006, “Placing the creative economy: scale, politics, and the material”. Environment and Planning A. 38: 1789-1797

- Leslie, D, 2005, “Creative cities?”. Geoforum.  1-3

- Reimer, S. and D. Leslie, 2004, “Knowledge, ethics and power in the home furnishings commodity chain”. Geographies of Commodity Chains. Ed. A. Hughes and S. Reimer. London: Routledge.  250-269

- Reimer, S. and D. Leslie, 2004, “Identity, consumption and the home”. Home Cultures. 1(2): 187-208

- Leslie, D. and S. Reimer, 2003, “Gender, modernism and home consumption” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 21: 293-316

- Leslie, D. and S. Reimer, 2003, “Fashioning Furniture: Restructuring the Furniture Commodity Chain”. Area. 35(4): 427-437

- Leslie, D, 2002, “Gender, retail employment and the clothing commodity chain”. Gender, place and culture. 9(1): 61-76

- Butz, D. and D. Leslie, 2001, "Risky Subjects: Changing Geographies of Employment in the Automobile Industry". Area. 33(2): 212-219

- Leslie, D, 1999 "Consumer subjectivity, space and advertising research". Environment and Planning A. 31: 1443-1457

- Leslie, D. and S. Reimer, 1999, "Spatializing commodity chains".  Progress in Human Geography. 23(3): 401-420

- Leslie, D. and D. Butz, 1998, "'GM Suicide': Flexibility, space and the injured body". Economic Geography. 74(4): 360-378.

- Leslie, D, 1997, "Femininity, post-fordism and the 'new traditionalism'". reprinted in Space, gender, knowledge. Ed. Linda McDowell and Joanne Sharp. London: Arnold. 300-317

- Leslie, D, 1997, "Flexibly specialized agencies? Reflexivity, identity and the advertising industry". Environment and Planning A. 29: 1017-1038

- Leslie, D, 1997, "Abandoning Madison Avenue: the relocation of advertising services in New York City". Urban Geography. 18(7): 568-590

- Leslie, D, 1995, "Global Scan: The Globalization of Advertising Agencies, Concepts and Campaigns". Economic Geography. 71(4): 402-426

- Leslie, D. A, 1993, "Femininity, post-fordism and the 'new traditionalism'". Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 11. 689-708


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last update feb 2012
Deborah Leslie
My research interests are united by a common theme: the relationships between economy, culture and place. I am interested in:

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