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Agency, Gender Identities, and Clothing Consumption: The Discourse on Garment Workers

Agency, Gender Identities, and Clothing Consumption: The Discourse on Garment Workers
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Author(s): Fatema Rouson Jahan (University of Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Copyright: 2019
Pages: 16
Source title: Gender Economics: Breakthroughs in Research and Practice
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7510-8.ch006

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Abstract

The chapter critically analyses the discourses on global factory workers that rest on three assumptions. First, the discussions of production are centred on stories of victimhood and produce a homogeneous image of third world workers as cheap and docile, who are affected by global labour market dynamics similarly and equally. Second, the third world is always theorised as a site of production and women factory workers are always positioned as sweatshop workers and never as consumers. Third, women's role as consumers appears only in relation to white women from the global north, who are assumed to have more purchasing power. Third world workers' consumption practices have been largely overlooked. The chapter problematises some of these assumptions. It proposes to look at the gender dynamics in the lives of women workers in global garment factories with a focus on their clothing consumption in order to further an approach that acknowledges the heterogeneity and agency of garment workers.

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