Archive for the ‘representational practices’ Category
Women’s Laborers Transitioning and Reskilling through Digital Divides: What we learn from the juxtaposition of contexts from the Varied Geographical and Socio-cultural Contexts
[Note: Please do not cite without permission - for citation details - - contact me, email@example.com if you want to see elaborations of this project - this is a developing project and I would love discussion.
I had originally written this as my contribution to the GWO presentation and then it started to become a humongous project drawing in various collaborators, so I decided to pull this part out and we are going with another plan for the conference presentation - but since it is written and begun - and its a developing project - I thought I'd share on the blog - more to come later.].
This article addresses ‘transition’ within a variety of contexts wherein subjectivities are negotiated at the intersection of age, gender, technology, and hierarchies of literacies and skills called for by a globalization that is shaped by transnational corporations and their need for cheap labor forces. In such a context, women, now in their midlife, who have not been able to devote their entire life to careers are faced with a need to reskill and transition into a work environment that continually upgrades technologically and organizationally. Such women are often women who have been displaced from their jobs and in their personal lives after having devoted their best years to a system that now devalues their life experience, skills and literacies. At the same time such women are needed to contribute service labor at lower levels of the hierarchy. Classified as being not skilled enough and therefore needing training – these women often re-enter the labor force as cheap labor with no benefits. In a global climate where workers are increasing individualized and required structurally to bear material and social risks and the workplace provides less and less support in the form of benefits or structures of social support, such women are faced with the need to go back into the workforce and reskill themselves in the use of new technologies. These are women, who, whether from rural Ohio or rural South India, have spent much of their early wage earning life in supporting , yet responsible for family well-being – both material, physical and social roles both within the family (performing the important yet unpaid immaterial labor of social reproduction) and within work environments outside the home (there too, they have often spent much of their time performing service jobs involving devalued immaterial labor that props up the social relational structures of management and production).
In the interest of trying to understand women’s career/labor mobility and their experiences across contexts in a variety of non-formal and formal work settings, the co-authors of this paper draw on continuing research in geographical locations as diverse as rural South India (using case studies of women who take over handloom weaving from their male family members), urban South Korea, urban Bucharest and rural/urban NW Ohio (both in biracial and working class contexts). Through this project we hope to unfold how structural attempts to standardize work practices world-wide through layered de-skilling and re-skilling that is done in favor of mobilizing cheap labor forces to perform routine low-skill jobs, immaterial/service labor and middle management work within global work spaces. Ultimately, our argument is that different, seemingly unique, local conditions develop through an emerging global corporate logic of interconnections organized in the service of multinational corporations. However all these located experiences of transition, empowerment or disempowerment in women’s lives are structured by the needs of a particular form of global spatializing logic that functions to standardize workforces while simultaneously standardizing the structure of management and control.
Our empirical investigations involve multi-(qualitative)-methods (collaborators will be named as we solidify some of this a little more). In the case of rural and urban South India, one of the authors draws on ethnographies, online and offline interviews and from pre-existing case-studies and focus groups and interviews conducted in 2009. In continuing work, the co-authors will interview women Bucharest and South Korea. We also plan to re-examine oral histories recorded from a biracial community with a history based in (farm)labor migration from Mexico, which we collected through participator action research methods in 2007 and 2008.
We start to chart the comparisons – commonalities and differences. We thus examine how these different groups of women negotiate the structural imperatives imposed on them through the increasing standardization of business and management practices that facilitate and support the smoother functioning of transnational businesses. Digital divides therefore come into play not just in the form of re-skilling through the use of computers and access to the internet, but also through the shaping of offline service tasks necessitated by organizational structures, marketing practices and production processes that function mostly through digital platforms for management and finance.
Introduction: Subaltern empowerment, socio-economic globalization and digital divides
1. Producing the Global: Microfinance Online
with Franklin Yartey and Anca Birzescu
2. Philanthrophist or Investor? Microlending to the Other
with Anca Birzescu, Franklin Yartey
3. Snapshots from Sari Trails, Cyborgs Old and New
with rad Zabibha
4. Framing the Loom: An Indian Context
with Seemanthani Niranjani and B. Syamasundari
5. Kente Cloth and Adinkra in the Global Market
Precious Yamaguchi and Franklin Yartey
Conclusion: Multiple interfacings with the so-called subaltern: To be continued
Key Concepts and Terms
About the Author
for more on the conference – go to http://atlasconference.tumblr.com/
Ordered cotton punis and also cotton carders today – in the meanwhile I did try spinning the cotton roving I have without it being put into punis, using my new tahkli spindle with the brass whorl. no image of that attempt and failure yet – will put one up later in the week maybe. Meanwhile what I call my westernized tahkli spindle arrived today and I am trying to spin the wool on that – all in the name of hybridity