Archive for the ‘voice’ 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[Note: Please do not cite without permission - for citation details - - contact me, email@example.com if you want to see elaborations of this project - this is a developing project and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
As I said the other day on my Facebook status update.
There is method to my madness even if it looks more like madness to my method.
(but really that’s just the point isn’t it – method does not just happen. its carved out ofmadness).
So now I’m struggling through knitting. My UFO s now include knitting, quilt patches, weaving and crochet…
Thinking through issues of value, labor, affect…
[for citation details - email me]
Changes, Transitions, Upgrading, Rewriting… what stayed constant if anything?
I started work on this book during a post dot.com socio-economic era soon after I had completed my last book. The last book (Gajjala, 2004) to be based fully on my own research endeavours and collaborations drew on the work I’d done both for my dissertation and towards tenure, during the mid to late 90s. In the midst of that book project and this current one (and I anticipate the same for the next one I am embarking on as I shut the covers on this one) – shifts have occurred. These shifts have reaffirmed for me that what I was observing at these cross-sections are indeed impacting our presents and futures in ways that compel us to re-seat ourselves from disciplinary comfort zones. What is discussed in this book that you are reading the “conclusion” of, for instance, does not just impact our social and cultural lives as if those were separate from political and the economic. These online/offline intersections are changing the way we need to respond to situations around us – whether in our domestic everyday or in the world-wide political milieu. What is most compelling is not that there are shifts or there is change – these are givens in any era. Our urgent attention and reflexive engagement is needed to observe carefully how this so-called speed of change allows a loss of memory that permits status quo hierarchies to be unchanged generation after generation. While bodies and cultural objects are coded as interchangeable and made visible as agents of difference, democracy and multiculturalism – code is standardized and these individual agents of so-called change are placed on naturalized technical platforms. Code is made invisible. Does this mean that the cod-ers – the labor that codes – have the power? Does this mean that the complex literacies involved in producing the platforms and networks are created by the labor-force that codes them? What configurations of practices, literacies and assumptions underpin how this labor force is trained and simultaneously rendered powerless while they labor to produce “us” in the interface?
Should the Humanities and Social Sciences be left out of these kinds of inter-disciplinary practices of standardizing socio-cultural financial code named as “technical” and “Technology,” as we continue incestuously “blind” peer-reviewing each other’s work, gatekeeping to ensure there is not more than a bit of fashionable dissonance and multiplicity in voicing – as we maintain outdated hierarchies of knowledge-production?
In continuing work my call to fellow researchers is to scrutinize closely every practice, every code, every interface, woven designs, crochet patterns, spoken word – for what seams seamless. We have been looking at and reveling in the discovery of “ruptures” and celebrating them or pointing to them as evidence of hopeful change. But we are missing what hides in the background of the ruptures we see “popping up.” What are the non-changing factors that are hidden by the fast appearing manner in which the “newness” of the place/space/time/body intersections seem to have the potential for reproducing “old” oppressive regimes in brand new bytes great speed and less time for reflection and contemplation.
How do we “upgrade” the lens that sees – what do we look for and why. How is an “unscripted entry” (here I refer to a recent podcast interview of Larry Gross where he talks about the unscripted entry of Justin Beiber and the likes into the mainstream) into the mainstream actually a product of status quo production mechanisms that have shifted and been hidden through the continual and simultaneous upgrading and standardization of layers of access and literacy. What do we write and publish for and why – if we reproduce consistencies in the name of discovery of newness?
At least with a reporter – there are what seem to be guidelines established through years of practice (by reporters and related administrators) and rule-making around news-making and reporting. When a reporter meets us f2f for a story or is going to be amidst us in a public venue we are aware that we will likely be “reported” on.
But what of the daily blogger – what are the warning signs for someone who is going to be written about in a blog? What are power dynamics at play – when a high ranking academic blogs vs when a graduate student blogs – what social capital permits the blogging of certain events (bloggers are hardly ever about stating multiple perspectives – they state their own and those of their friends – just as I do – not that reporters are objective necessarily either but there are other checks and balances…)
I have so many recent events happening around me and that I have been a part of that I want to report on and comment on on my blog – but hesitate because I feel that my view on some of these events will not be taken too kindly …
This is not an issue of marginalization and empowerment – it is an issue of judgement and viewership.
Specific situated audience communities interacting with Writers produce “texts” – but where the blog goes – we cant always map the route.
but I may blog the reports eventually anyway.
to find out more about what it means to “quilt conceptually” according to rad Zabibha (born in 2006) and Cyb Tabla (born in 2004)
work in-progress – always
considering also linking to Diva’s earlier moo projects – at least those that are still accessible