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Where Are The Women? Gender, Labor, And Discourse In The Noida Export Processing Zone And Delhi

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  • Urvashi Soni-Sinha

Abstract

Export processing zones (EPZs) are like islands of globalization. Much of the literature on EPZs and export-oriented industries (EOIs) notes a preponderance of women who are constructed as “cheap,” “nimble fingered,” and “docile” labor. This literature is dominated by socialist feminist thinkers, and this paper argues that there is a need to incorporate the insights of postmodern feminist thinkers. The article focuses on the role that language, discourse, and subjectivity play in the gendering process in handmade jewelry production in the Noida Export Processing Zone (NEPZ) and in the ranch production units related by common ownership in Delhi, India. It thus gives “voices” to women and men, and brings out their agency in structuring the labor market. The study confirms that gender division of labor is a product of discursive and material practices that are reproduced through discourses into which different actors invest, and that feed into the gendered subjective identities of these actors.

Suggested Citation

  • Urvashi Soni-Sinha, 2006. "Where Are The Women? Gender, Labor, And Discourse In The Noida Export Processing Zone And Delhi," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 335-365.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:12:y:2006:i:3:p:335-365 DOI: 10.1080/13545700600670442
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
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    Keywords

    Subjectivity; gender division of labor; discourse; export processing; India; JEL Codes: J16; J4; J49;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets
    • J49 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Other

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