Gendered labour process and flexibility : a study of jewellery production in India
Soni-Sinha, Urvashi (2000) Gendered labour process and flexibility : a study of jewellery production in India. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1369213~S15
This study focuses on the production of handmade and machinemade jewellery in three
sites in India: Noida Export Processing Zone (NEPZ), Delhi and Medinipur. It draws
from and contributes to two strands of literature and extends them. One is the gendered
literature on export processing zones (EPZs) and export oriented industries (EOIs). The
other is the literature on globalisation, feminisation and flexibility.
The thesis poses two major research questions. First, how are jobs in jewellery
production constituted as masculine or feminine? Second, how do masculinised and
feminised jobs relate to flexibility?
The evidence I use to answer these questions is based on materials collected in the course
of two field trips to India, of nine months and two months duration between 1996-1998.
A questionnaire survey, non-participant observation and semi-structured interviews were
used as methods of data collection.
Contrary to much of the literature on EPZs, machinemade jewellery production in NEPZ
is predominantly male with 25% female work participation, and handmade jewellery
production in NEPZ is entirely male with no female work participation. Handmade
jewellery in Delhi has a marginal representation of women as family workers. Only in
handmade chain production in the villages of Medinipur is the female labour
predominant, in the form of hidden women homeworkers, constituting 64% of the labour
time. My study shows that the gender division of labour is not a fixed or given entity but
a product of discursive and material practices, which are reproduced through discourses
into which different actors invest, and which feed into the gendered subjective identities
of these actors. The study breaks down the assumption of a formal labour market in
EPZs. There is a wide prevalence of male child labour and subcontracting in all three
sites of handmade jewellery production. Contrary to the literature on EPZs and EOIs
which show that it is the feminised jobs that are flexible, in machinemade jewellery
production in NEPZ there is a slight feminisation of flexibility but it is not very
significant. In the handmade jewellery sector in NEPZ and Delhi, labour market
flexibility is occurring with a largely masculinised labour force. In Medinipur all labour
is flexible and since there is greater representation of women in the labour time, there is
some feminisation of flexibility. So no clear linkage can be drawn between the
feminisation of jobs and flexible labour within the jewellery industry in India thus
complicating the debates on feminisation and flexibility. The study underlines the
importance of localised industry studies which are not bounded by a particular space.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Jewelry making -- India, Export processing zones -- India, Women employees -- India|
|Official Date:||September 2000|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Centre for the Study of Women and Gender|
|Supervisor(s)/Advisor:||Liddle, Joanna ; Wright, Caroline, 1965-|
|Sponsors:||University of Warwick ; Charles Wallace India Trust|
|Extent:||xii, 337 leaves|
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