The Threads of Time in Bangladesh’s Garment Industry: Coercion, Exploitation and Resistance in a Global Workplace
In this paper I discuss the work in Bangladesh’s Ready-Made Garment industry by focussing on the work process itself, on the moralities surrounding it as well as the spatial and temporal structures framing it. My aim is to show how relations of authority, inequality, gender and class are made on the shop floors of the garment industry by managers, supervisors and the workers themselves and how this “making” is shaped by demands from global corporations, i.e. the ever faster and cheaper production of garments. These demands result in extraordinary intensive and long work-days and in the spatial arrangements allowing for the tight control of the workforce, which garment workers describe as “garment-time” and “garment-world”. I will argue that these notions of the industry’s distinct world and time indicates its distinctly non-local, global character.
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