SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

The Sweatshop Regime: Labouring Bodies, Exploitation and Garments Made in India

Dr Alessandra Mezzadri

Date: 18 October 2016Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 18 October 2016Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Senate House Room: (S)ALT

Type of Event: Book Launch

This book explores the processes producing and reproducing the garment sweatshop in India.Drawing from Marxian and feminist insights, the book theorizes the sweatshop as a complex ‘regime’ of exploitation and oppression, jointly crafted by global, regional and local actors, and working across productive and reproductive realms. The analysis illustrates the links between the physical and social materiality of production, unveiling the distinct circuits of exploitation corresponding to different clothing items. As these circuits change across India, on the basis of regional patterns of product specialisation, so does the logic of the sweatshop, its composition, the social profile of the labouring poor engaged in garment work, and their working conditions. Through the eyes of sourcing actors, the whole country can be re-imagined as a giant department store, with different garment collections exhibited at different floors, and created through the sweat of different sets of labourers.


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The Sweatshop Regime: Labouring Bodies, Exploitation & Garments Made in India

Alessandra Mezzadri is Lecturer in Development Studies at SOAS, London. Her research interests focus on globalisation and processes of labour informalisation; materialist approaches to global commodity chainand industrial systems; garment sweatshops, labour standards and CSR; gender and feminist theory; andthe political economy of India. She has investigated the Indian garment industry in-depth over a span of tenyears, and illustrated the different ways in which distinct regional sweatshops are formed and reproduced across the Subcontinent. Alessandra has done external consultancy work for DFID, UNIDO and Action Aid-UK, on issues such as poverty, global labor standards and gender. Her latest book is The Sweatshop Regime: Labouring Bodies, Exploitation and Garments Made in India (2016, Cambridge University Press).

This seminar is part of the SOAS Department of Development Studies & the UCL,Bloomsbury and East London Doctoral Training Partnership seminar series for 2015/2016. To see the full event listing click here.

Organiser: Dr Feyzi Ismail and Professor Alfredo Saad Filho

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