High Tech and High Heels in the Global Economy - Women, Work, and Pink-Collar Identities in the Caribbean

Carla Freeman

Published by Duke Univ
ISBN 10: 0822324032 / ISBN 13: 9780822324034
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Synopsis: High Tech and High Heels in the Global Economy is an ethnography of globalization positioned at the intersection between political economy and cultural studies. Carla Freeman’s fieldwork in Barbados grounds the processes of transnational capitalism—production, consumption, and the crafting of modern identities—in the lives of Afro-Caribbean women working in a new high-tech industry called “informatics.” It places gender at the center of transnational analysis, and local Caribbean culture and history at the center of global studies.
Freeman examines the expansion of the global assembly line into the realm of computer-based work, and focuses specifically on the incorporation of young Barbadian women into these high-tech informatics jobs. As such, Caribbean women are seen as integral not simply to the workings of globalization but as helping to shape its very form. Through the enactment of “professionalism” in both appearances and labor practices, and by insisting that motherhood and work go hand in hand, they re-define the companies’ profile of “ideal” workers and create their own “pink-collar” identities. Through new modes of dress and imagemaking, the informatics workers seek to distinguish themselves from factory workers, and to achieve these new modes of consumption, they engage in a wide array of extra income earning activities. Freeman argues that for the new Barbadian pink-collar workers, the globalization of production cannot be viewed apart from the globalization of consumption. In doing so, she shows the connections between formal and informal economies, and challenges long-standing oppositions between first world consumers and third world producers, as well as white-collar and blue-collar labor.
Written in a style that allows the voices of the pink-collar workers to demonstrate the simultaneous burdens and pleasures of their work, High Tech and High Heels in the Global Economy will appeal to scholars and students in a wide range of disciplines, including anthropology, cultural studies, sociology, women’s studies, political economy, and Caribbean studies, as well as labor and postcolonial studies.

From the Publisher: High Tech and High Heels is a treasure trove. Freeman is among a handful of truly original thinkers in the field of social anthropology and she has produced in this book a major contribution to our understanding of the fluid relationship between gender, social class, and culture. Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, Princeton University

What Freeman s innovative investigation of Barbadian women data-entry workers reveals is that cultural processes globalization, identity(ies), constructions, consumerism are informed in no small part by the ways in which paid labor is structured and restructured. She alerts us to phenomena that should shake us out of our all-too-comfortable dichotomizing habits. Cynthia Enloe, Clark University

Freeman helps us understand how new forms of labor power are being tapped in old places. This is a penetrating demonstration of the genuine relevance of anthropology to the modern world. It also shows us in what ways change and persistence are subtly interwoven, in a world that is not quite so new as others tell us. Sidney Mintz, Johns Hopkins University

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Title: High Tech and High Heels in the Global ...
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Book Description Duke University Press. Hardback. Condition: new. BRAND NEW, High Tech and High Heels in the Global Economy: Women, Work, and Pink-Collar Identities in the Caribbean, Carla Freeman, High Tech and High Heels in the Global Economy is an ethnography of globalisation positioned at the intersection between political economy and cultural studies. Carla Freeman's fieldwork in Barbados grounds the processes of trans-national capitalism-production, consumption, and the crafting of modern identities-in the lives of Afro-Caribbean women working in a new high-tech industry called "informatics." It places gender at the centre of trans-national analysis, and local Caribbean culture and history at the centre of global studies. Freeman examines the expansion of the global assembly line into the realm of computer-based work, and focuses specifically on the incorporation of young Barbadian women into these high-tech informatics jobs. As such, Caribbean women are seen as integral not simply to the workings of globalisation but as helping to shape its very form. Through the enactment of "professionalism" in both appearances and labour practices, and by insisting that motherhood and work go hand in hand, they re-define the companies' profile of "ideal" workers and create their own "pink-collar" identities. Through new modes of dress and imagemaking, the informatics workers seek to distinguish themselves from factory workers, and to achieve these new modes of consumption, they engage in a wide array of extra income earning activities. Freeman argues that for the new Barbadian pink-collar workers, the globalisation of production cannot be viewed apart from the globalisation of consumption. In doing so, she shows the connections between formal and informal economies, and challenges long-standing oppositions between first world consumers and third world producers, as well as white-collar and blue-collar labour. Written in a style that allows the voices of the pink-collar workers to demonstrate the simultaneous burdens and pleasures of their work, High Tech and High Heels in the Global Economy will appeal to scholars and students in a wide range of disciplines, including anthropology, cultural studies, sociology, women's studies, political economy, and Caribbean studies, as well as labour and postcolonial studies. Seller Inventory # B9780822324034

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