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  • © 2022

Everyday Life of Ready-made Garment Kormi in Bangladesh

An Ethnography of Neoliberalism

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Complicates the homogenizing category of ‘the garment worker’ of conventional scholarship on the subject

  • Grounds the analysis of garment workers’ everyday lives in emergent neoliberal structures of difference and inequality

  • Tells a story of gender and capitalism that is attentive to the often contradictory worlds of garment workers

Part of the book series: Approaches to Social Inequality and Difference (ATSIAD)

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  • ISBN: 978-3-030-99902-5
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Hardcover Book USD 159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

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Table of contents (10 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxi
  2. Part I

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 1-1
  3. Part III

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 111-111
    2. Becoming Garment Kormi: Life in the Garment Factory

      • Mohammad Tareq Hasan
      Pages 113-148
    3. Dare to Dream: Remaking Everyday Realities

      • Mohammad Tareq Hasan
      Pages 223-248
  4. Part IV

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 249-249
  5. Part V

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 275-275
    2. Epilogue: During the Pandemic

      • Mohammad Tareq Hasan
      Pages 301-314
  6. Back Matter

    Pages 315-322

About this book

“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.  

Keywords

  • Anthropology of work
  • Bangladesh
  • Garment Industry
  • Capitalism
  • Labor
  • Neoliberalism
  • Social inequality
  • Anthropology of capitalism

Reviews

“This is an ethnography in the very finest tradition of anthropology in which the conceptual forces of the abstract are revealed and tested in the contexts of the lived realities of those upon whom they are held to have determining, often overdetermining effect. 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. As Hasan shows these workers, among the most exploited and oppressed in the world of global capitalism, are not only shaped by the forces with which they must contend but also play a vital role in creating the new cultural and social realities that are constantly coming into existence around them. 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 breaks new ground, bringing fresh conceptual perspectives to bear on an otherwise well-trodden field of scholarship. Mohammad Tareq Hasan's monograph on Bangladesh’s garment industry is one of the first to be based on sustained ethnographic field work.  The author takes capitalism as a central organizing category in the text, without falling back on universalizing modes of analysis. Eschewing abstractions and reductive dichotomies, Hasan offers a nuanced account of world-making under structural conditions of deep inequality and contending regimes of value; of neoliberal developmental practices, state ideologies and middle class morality as they mediate – or not -- the worldviews and subjectivities of the men and women who labor in garment factories. Even as he tracks openings and forms of resistance that are never far from the surface, Hasan argues against looking for singular outcomes. Theoretically sophisticated and historically grounded, this ethnography is a welcome and much-needed contribution to the literature.” (Dina M. Siddiqi, Clinical Associate Professor, School of Liberal Studies, New York University, USA)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Anthropology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh

    Mohammad Tareq Hasan

About the author

Mohammad Tareq Hasan is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Bergen, Norway. His research interests include minority and ethnic groups, gender relations, collective action, anthropology of work, state formation, political economy, and egalitarianism. 

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook USD 119.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-99902-5
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book USD 159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)