Threads: Gender, Labor, and Power in the Global Apparel Industry

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9780226113722: Threads: Gender, Labor, and Power in the Global Apparel Industry

Americans have been shocked by media reports of the dismal working conditions in factories that make clothing for U.S. companies. But while well intentioned, many of these reports about child labor and sweatshop practices rely on stereotypes of how Third World factories operate, ignoring the complex economic dynamics driving the global apparel industry.

To dispel these misunderstandings, Jane L. Collins visited two very different apparel firms and their factories in the United States and Mexico. Moving from corporate headquarters to factory floors, her study traces the diverse ties that link First and Third World workers and managers, producers and consumers. Collins examines how the transnational economics of the apparel industry allow firms to relocate or subcontract their work anywhere in the world, making it much harder for garment workers in the United States or any other country to demand fair pay and humane working conditions.

Putting a human face on globalization, Threads shows not only how international trade affects local communities but also how workers can organize in this new environment to more effectively demand better treatment from their distant corporate employers.

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About the Author:

Jane L. Collins is a professor of rural sociology and women's studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is the author of Unseasonal Migrations: The Effects of Rural Labor Scarcity in Peru and coauthor of Reading National Geographic, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press.

Review:

"Threads is both timely and exceptionally well documented. A model of scholarship."
--American Ethnologist

(American Ethnologist 2004-11-04)

"Collins' book attempts to humanize the trend toward a global economy, demonstrating the link between individual factory workers and the corporate players in the boardroom. . . . Collins' humanization of this process connects the problem with a solution, explaining how transnational workers can organize in this environment to demand better treatment from their distant corporate employers."
(Jesica Scheppmann Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law)

"A good introduction for newcomers to the subject. [The book] provides a solid and succinct description of the global apparel industry which is based upon an exhaustive literature review. The case studies, based upon original research, are particularly compelling. It is written in a clear, non-technical style, making the book useful for several disciplines."

(Katie Quan Labor Studies Journal)

"Books about international trade, like Threads, are essential for gender/women's studies courses, research, and action. . . . Fine books, like that written by Collins, call atention to the interconnected global economy in which we are thoroughly embedded as consumers and workers." (Kathleen Staudt Newspaper Tree)

"The strength of this book is its ability to link anlysis of the dynamics of global production with an exploration of the social relations of work, and tensions in the interaction between the two. . . . The book seeks to elaborate a critical understanding of the complex changes that are taking place in the global sourcing of apparel, and of their implications for the lives an organizing strategies of women workers. The case studies provide important documentary evidence of the changes that have taken place, and the book provides an informative read for all those interested in this important area of global transformation." (Stephanie Barrientos Journal of the Royal Athropological Institute 2005-09-01)

Threads makes a welcome contribution to the literature on the ways that global industries are shaping the lives of workers across the world. It weaves together discussions of firm strategies in producing a global though segmented labour market, with workers’ perspectives on working and organizing in the new context. . . . This book should be on everyone’s list.” (Isa Baud Development & Change)

“A brilliant book. Threads offers a timely and original analysis of race and gender in the shifting political economy of the global apparel industry. Collins is at ease with economic statistics and archival materials, and her intelligent interviews with shop-floor workers, union activists, and CEOs allow her to offer a breakthrough account of this flashpoint of globalization.”<\#209>Micaela di Leonardo, Northwestern University (Micaela di Leonardo, Northwestern University)

“Instead of treating globalization as an inevitable fact, Collins shows why it must be understood as an uneven process, shaped by management decisions, state policies, and labor’s responses; she challenges common misperceptions about labor, skill, and technology and offers surprising new insights into the North American apparel industry.By laying bare the underlying dynamics of globalization, Threadsmakes an important contribution to discussions about the future.” <\#209>Gay W. Seidman, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Gay W. Seidman, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

“This is a thoughtful and engaging book on the labor process and labor politics of the global apparel industry. Global sourcing, Jane Collins has found, is not simply a cost-driven corporate decision but is a political economic process shaped by an array of social, political, and international institutions, resulting in varying degrees of corporate localization and deterritorialization.”--. . . . Written in accessible prose and integrating the findings of recent scholarly works on the history and organization of the textile and apparel industry, Collins’s book makes a timely and critical intervention in the public debate on globalization, outsourcing, and labor rights.” (Ching Kwan Lee American Journal of Sociology)

"The opening sections, drawing out the development of the global apparel industry and setting more recent changes in a longer historical context, in themselves make the book worthwhile. . . . Threads is both readable and scholarly, two attributes that are infrequently found together." (Francis Watkins Social Anthropology)

"Fine books, like that written by Collins, call attention to the interconnected global economy in which we are thoroughly embedded as consumers and workers." (Kathleen Staudt NWSA Journal)

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 2nd. 221 x 150 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Americans have been shocked by media reports of the dismal working conditions in factories that make clothing for U.S. companies. But while well intentioned, many of these reports about child labor and sweatshop practices rely on stereotypes of how Third World factories operate, ignoring the complex economic dynamics driving the global apparel industry. To dispel these misunderstandings, Jane L. Collins visited two very different apparel firms and their factories in the United States and Mexico. Moving from corporate headquarters to factory floors, her study traces the diverse ties that link First and Third World workers and managers, producers and consumers. Collins examines how the transnational economics of the apparel industry allow firms to relocate or subcontract their work anywhere in the world, making it much harder for garment workers in the United States or any other country to demand fair pay and humane working conditions. Putting a human face on globalization, Threads shows not only how international trade affects local communities but also how workers can organize in this new environment to more effectively demand better treatment from their distant corporate employers. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780226113722

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 2nd. 221 x 150 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Americans have been shocked by media reports of the dismal working conditions in factories that make clothing for U.S. companies. But while well intentioned, many of these reports about child labor and sweatshop practices rely on stereotypes of how Third World factories operate, ignoring the complex economic dynamics driving the global apparel industry. To dispel these misunderstandings, Jane L. Collins visited two very different apparel firms and their factories in the United States and Mexico. Moving from corporate headquarters to factory floors, her study traces the diverse ties that link First and Third World workers and managers, producers and consumers. Collins examines how the transnational economics of the apparel industry allow firms to relocate or subcontract their work anywhere in the world, making it much harder for garment workers in the United States or any other country to demand fair pay and humane working conditions. Putting a human face on globalization, Threads shows not only how international trade affects local communities but also how workers can organize in this new environment to more effectively demand better treatment from their distant corporate employers. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780226113722

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