SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Book Talk: Labor, Global Supply Chains, and the Garment Industry in South Asia: Bangladesh after Rana Plaza

Dr Sanchita Banerjee Saxena (UC Berkeley)

Date: 21 November 2019Time: 4:00 PM

Finishes: 21 November 2019Time: 6:00 PM

Venue: 21/22 Russell Square Room: T108, 21 Russell Square

Type of Event: Talk

April 24, 2013 will be known as the day of the deadliest garment factory accident in history. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Western companies invested in two organizations designed to strictly monitor and inspect a portion of Bangladesh’s registered factories. This move by Western brands has been touted as unprecedented and innovative. However, while these organizations have made some important progress, the new edited volume, Labor, Global Supply Chains, and the Garment Industry in South Asia: Bangladesh after Rana Plaza (2020, Routledge) critiques the strategies employed over the last five years, as well as proposes solutions to further improve the sector. The book argues that this singular emphasis by Western retailers on monitoring and compliance has neglected the larger issues around the entire global supply chain. Focusing only on monitoring factories as a solution does not address the extreme pressures suppliers face from brands to produce large quantities, at the lowest price, and in the shortest time possible. In order to prevent horrific tragedies like Rana Plaza from occurring in the future, larger flaws in the global chain must be addressed with the hope that this will change the way business is conducted and reduce the incentives of factory owners to take deadly risks in order to meet the demands of their clients.

Dr. Sanchita Banerjee Saxena is the Executive Director of the Institute for South Asia Studies (Institute) at UC Berkeley and the Director of the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies under the Institute. She is the editor of Labor, Global Supply Chains, and the Garment Industry in South Asia: Bangladesh after Rana Plaza (Routledge, 2020) and author of Made in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka: The Labor Behind the Global Garments and Textiles Industries (Cambria Press, 2014). Dr. Saxena has been a Practitioner Resident at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in Italy and a Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. She frequently gives invited lectures and publishes commentaries in the popular media. Dr. Saxena holds a PhD in political science from UCLA.

The event is organised by the Labour, Activism and Development Cluster (department of Development Studies) and is chaired by Dr Alessandra Mezzadri