“Mohammad Tareq Hasan’s powerful and sensitive understanding of the situations of female garment workers in Bangladesh’s clothing factories critically contextualizes commanding theoretical discourse grounding their insights but simultaneously demonstrating the limits to their understanding. Hasan in his masterly analysis shows how ethnography is not merely illustrative of theory but central to its construction.”
—Bruce Kapferer, Emeritus Professor, University of Bergen and Honorary Professorial Fellow, University College, London
“Everyday Life of Ready-made Garment Kormi in Bangladesh is a rich ethnography of the lives of garment workers in Bangladesh. Hasan argues against the orthodox view of garment workers as the pawns of capitalism; instead, he shows how workers renegotiate capitalist agendas to create emancipatory opportunities. The book adds a new dimension to the growing literature on the garment industry by focusing on the female garment kormi as the agent of social change.”
—Lamia Karim, Professor of Anthropology, University of Oregon
This book portrays the scene where corporate international trade agreements, a new neoliberal state regime, and a growing textile market have contributed to the becoming of a new class of Muslim female workers—who labor in Bangladesh’s apparel export factories under conditions of neoliberal capitalism. The garment kormi
—often abstracted by the homogenizing category of the “garment worker”—remain lost in the statistics of development and empowerment or contrarily exploitation. Thereby, focusing on the everyday lives of garment kormi,
i.e., workers’ stories than on the collective of garment workers as a category,
this book at one front highlights the neoliberal structures of difference and inequality, and on the other reflects on the potential of egalitarianism and change in terms of novel ways of comprising and expressing life-worlds. It shows that the values in life and the structures that govern life, such as contemporary Bangladesh’s neoliberal order, kinship relationality, and religiosity, are co-constitutive, multi-layered, and always on the move, never fixed.
Mohammad Tareq Hasan is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.