Professor Brett Neilson


Portrait photo of Professor Brett NeilsonProfessor Brett Neilson’s research and writing aim to provide alternative ways of conceiving globalisation, with particular emphasis upon its social and cultural dimensions. Drawing on cultural and social theory as well as on empirical studies, his work has derived original and provocative means for rethinking the significance of globalisation for a wide range of contemporary problems and predicaments, including the proliferation of borders, the ascendancy of financial markets, the pressures of population ageing, the governance of logistical chains, and the role of digital infrastructures. His writings have been translated into sixteen languages: Italian, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Slovenian, Turkish, Arabic, Polish, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

He is currently working on the ARC Discovery Project, 'Data Centres and the Governance of Labour and Territory' (opens in a new window). Previously, he has led the ARC Discovery Projects 'Logistics as Global Governance: Infrastructure, Software and Labour along the New Silk Road' (opens in a new window) and 'Culture in Transition: Creative Labour and Social Mobilities in the Asian Century' (opens in a new window).


  • PhD, 1994, Yale University
  • MPhil, 1990, Yale University
  • MA, 1990, Yale University
  • BA (Hons 1), 1987, University of Sydney

Research Focus

  • Borders and migration
  • Digital cultures
  • Political theory
  • Knowledge platforms
  • Labour studies
  • Cultural theory
  • Asian studies
  • Social theory
  • Anthropological theory
  • Continental philosophy
  • Global studies

Selected Awards and Recognition

  • 2015-2016: Visiting Professor, Berlin Institute for Migration Studies, Humboldt University
  • 1987-92: Fulbright Scholarship, Australian-American Educational Foundation
  • 1992-93: Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship
  • 1989-92: William Lyons Phelps Prize Fellowship, Yale University
  • 1987-89: Richard J. Franke Prize Fellowship, Yale University
  • 1987: University Medal, English, University of Sydney

Selected Publications

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2013, Border as method, or, the multiplication of labor, Duke University Press, Durham.

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2019, The politics of operations: excavating contemporary capitalism, Duke University Press, Durham.

Neilson, B 2004, Free trade in the Bermuda Triangle ... and other tales of counterglobalization, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

Neilson, B, Rossiter, N & Samaddar, R (eds.) 2018, Logistical Asia: the labour of making a world region, Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore.

Neilson, B & Rossiter, N 2008, ‘Precarity as a political concept, or, Fordism as exception’, Theory, Culture & Society, vol. 25, no. 7-8, pp. 51-72.

Neilson, B 2012, ‘Five theses on understanding logistics as power’, Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 323-240.

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2012, ‘Between inclusion and exclusion: on the topology of borders and global space’, Theory, Culture & Society, vol. 29, no. 4-5, pp. 58-75.

Mezzadra, S & Neilson, B 2017, ‘On the multiple frontiers of extraction: excavating contemporary capitalism’, Cultural Studies, vol. 31, pp. 185-204.

Neilson, B 2018, ‘The currency of migration’, South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 117, no. 2, pp. 375-96.

Neilson B 2009, ‘The world seen from a taxi: students-migrants-workers in the global multiplication of labour’, Subjectivity, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 425-444.

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