Dissertation Abstracts

Political Economy and Business Ethics of Football Production: How Do Female Home-Based Workers Contribute to Global Supply Chains?

Author: Farah Naz, farahnaz@uos.edu.pk
Department: Sociology
University: University of Klagenfurt, Austria
Supervisor: Dieter Bögenhold
Year of completion: 2017
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: globalization , gender , global supply chains , home based work
Areas of Research: Economy and Society , Local-Global Relations , Work


Global opening of the space by means of economic globalization, regardless of its repeated promises, is lacking in commonly assumed uniform effects. This division is more pronounced in the modern production organization, where capital is locally unbound and free to move, but consequences of the move are grounded in locality and bound to stay. Therefore, it is increasingly important to understand the new workplace arrangements and the changing nature of associated economic responsibilities in a global system of production organization. Articulating a qualitative case study of the football industry of Pakistan, this research highlights that there is a clear gap between the theoretical stance on home-based work and the inner world-view of the actors involved. Most of the academic and policy-oriented judgements on the issue of home-based work and economic responsibilities are Western-centric and homeworkers have limited meaning-generating and meaning-negotiating capacities in these existing debates. Consequently, global extraterritorial messages that are divorced from local everyday living experiences of homeworkers, rebound and cause more suffering despite good intentions. This study questions the existing approaches towards home-based work and presents an alternative discourse that stems from voicing the concerns and experiences of female homeworkers, which are too often voiceless groups. The underlying assumption is that exploring the multiplicity of contexts in which female homework is performed could facilitate a holistic understanding of the uniqueness of women’s position in the international division of labour. It is argued that entrenched and pronounced issues of labour in developing countries bear little relevance for those located in the periphery when refracted through the theoretical and ideological lenses of economically advanced countries. Although industrial homework can be classified as precarious on various parameters (uncertain, unpredictable, and risky), it is nonetheless highly valued by female homeworkers within their existing opportunity structure. Building on Sen’s capability approach, data gathered through narrative life histories supports the notion that homework is not negative per se. Homeworkers perceive their work as important source for development of some capabilities that are relevant for their overall well-being. However, a lack of collective action and support through public intervention is the major hurdle to realize the full potential of homework. Therefore, rather than looking at homework as a relic of former centuries and bringing it close to the status of illegitimate economic activity, it makes sense to acknowledge it as a new form of work in the existing division of employment. The services of female homeworkers should be enumerated in the national accounting system and they should be granted recognition as workers in official statistics. The evaluation of their contribution to the national economy and its recognition can bring positive change to the existing situation through making them more visible.

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