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Title: Riches from rags or persistent poverty? : inequality in the transnational second-hand clothing trade in Mozambique
Author: Brooks, Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 2721 3233
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2012
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One of the understudied geographies of the world economy is the large-scale export of second-hand clothing form the global North to Africa. The consumption and re-use 0 clothing traces a transnational gradient of inequality between the rich and poor. This thesis examines the (re )production of second-hand clothing commodities in Britain, the international economic geographies of the used-clothing trade and the labour activities of African market traders. Coordinated and non-integrated patterns of trade are investigated through a theoretical approach which draws upon Fine's 'system of provision' analysis from heterodox economics and connects this to existing commodity studies approaches in geography. Within global second-hand clothing networks there are differential power relations between charities, companies and individuals. The socially and historically embedded roles of British charities and firms in the collection, processing and export of second-hand clothing are introduced. This is connected to the main empirical exploration of the downstream social and economic impacts of second- hand clothing imports in Africa. Linkages are made across the new and used clothing sectors and in the relationships between the decline of clothing industries across Africa, economic liberalisation and the growth of used-clothing imports. Patterns of import are investigated, with specific reference to Mozambique, where Indian merchants control distribution. Second-hand clothing markets are widespread in African urban centres and retail activities in Maputo are examined in-depth drawing upon twelve months of ethnographic research. Through specific social formations market traders have precarious livelihoods. Incomes do not provide opportunities for Mozambicans to progress out of poverty. By examining different processes at various locations in the international economy, it is demonstrated how it is not second-hand clothes which create economic relationships, but definite social relations between people.
Supervisor: Simon, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Mozambique ; Second-hand ; Clothing ; Trade ; Development ; AFRICA