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Title: Gendering labour geography : mapping women's world of labour through everyday geographies of work-life at a Special Economic Zone in Tamil Nadu, India
Author: Dutta, Madhumita
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 5061
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2016
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The thesis looks at the experiences of work and life of young women workers who have migrated from their villages to work in an electronics factory in a Special Economic Zone in Tamil Nadu, India. Moving beyond the lens of exploitation or emancipation, the thesis attempts to understand the meaning of work and relations that develop around it. It does so by focusing on the everyday lived experiences and practices of women inside and outside the factory. The thesis pays attention to individual stories to create linkages between lives as waged workers in a formal workspace with the informal nature of work-life outside. It tries to understand the processes through which women enter formal waged work in global production sites and the choices they make in their everyday lives, both within the workplace and outside of it; and how everyday social relations are constituted and re-constituted through work and practices of labour. The research finds that the everyday lived experiences of work and life in the factory form a ‘complex web of relations’ to which women grow attached to and from which they derive new meanings of work. While the thesis does not claim that the women were able to transcend the larger politics of gender or labour, it does show that waged work did create possibilities for reworking gender relations for the women. Finally the thesis argues for Labour Geography to look beyond the factory gates to understand the nuanced politics of labour as relations get ‘reworked’ within a patriarchal-capitalist society. It recommends paying close attention to the ‘small-scale geographies’ of workers (McDowell, 2015), their life narratives and experiences, but without losing sight of the larger struggles of labour and global processes, to develop a more grounded understanding of worker’s agency and actions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available