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Title: Gendered societal transitions : the shifting role of women in the table grape production network from Archanes, Greece to Europe
Author: Sifaki, Eleni
ISNI:       0000 0004 5920 0031
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2015
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There have been major changes taking place in export horticulture over time that have been compounded by the recent economic crisis. Women and men have been affected differently by these changes. Women have played a major role as waged and unwaged labour but have also been significantly affected by these shifts. Although we know about the effects of the supermarket-led global production network (GPN) expansion on gender relations existing literature does not explore theoretically and empirically the gender implications of changing production networks. The thesis addresses this research gap by investigating the shifting role of women in the table (fresh) grape GPN from the town of Archanes in Crete, Greece to the European market and the implications for women’s labour agency across three periods. Thus, it addresses the research question: How has the relationship between women’s waged and unwaged work in the table grape GPN shifted across periods and what are the implications for gender and GPN analysis? It investigates changes across: 1) the period of the producer-led export market; 2) the period of the buyer-led GPN expansion; and 3) the period of crisis. A qualitative case study approach is used, utilising primarily interviews, focus groups and participant observation. This research builds on the GPN, feminist political economy and intra-household bargaining literatures to further develop a Gendered Global Production Networks (Gendered GPN) approach. An evolving Gendered GPN approach combines the GPN approach with a concept of gendered societal embeddedness which captures the interaction between commercial drivers and gendered societal relations. The thesis draws from the intra-household bargaining literature to incorporate a household level analysis of labour bargaining and fall-back positions to ‘unpack’ the concept of women’s labour agency. The thesis finds that while in the period of the producer-led export market women were unskilled labour, the expansion of supermarkets in period 2 offered skills and economic opportunities, enabling them to bargain in crisis even as unwaged labour in table grapes. Hence labour agency becomes more important in shaping women’s position in production networks than in the producer-led export market. Ultimately the GPN was still able to get high quality at low costs through female labour. Therefore commercial pressures influence gendered societal relations but also gendered societal relations influence commercial transitions. The findings show complex and non-linear forms of change characterised by tensions between commercial and gendered societal relations in a process of transition underpinned by shifts in women’s work and agency. I capture this with the concept of ‘gendered societal transitions’. This helps to further develop a Gendered GPN approach to advance knowledge of non-linear gendered transformations as GPNs evolve.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Manchester, School of Environment and Development (SED)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: global production networks ; gender relations ; women's work ; labour agency ; export agriculture ; Greece