Assembling Flowers and Cultivating Homes : Labor and Gender in Colombia
Colombia is a major exporter of fresh-cut flowers. As in other global assembly line industries, women constitute a majority of Colombia's floriculture workforce. This ethnographic study explores the links between agro-industrial employment in the context of economic adjustment programs and the individual experience of employment and economic change at the household level. Author Greta Friedemann-Sanchez's challenges the current academic consensus that transnational assembly line industries reinforce patriarchal ideologies of reproduction and the exploitation of women. What from a global perspective may be perceived as exploitation can be seen from the local perspective as an opportunity within the community. Specifically, the study focuses on how the interrelated factors of formal employment, wage income, property ownership, social capital, and self-esteem articulate with women's resistance to male dominated households and domestic violence. Expertly combining qualitative and quantitative methodologies, Assembling Flowers and Cultivating Homes contributes greatly to the study of gender and power, household economics and structure, and Latin American society.
- Electronic book text | 232 pages
- 30 Mar 2006
- Lexington Books
- MD, United States
This is an important and timely book. It offers a textured account of how gendered forms of labor are not only at the heart of global competitiveness but are also an instrument for crafting new identities and options for women workers..... In this important contribution, Greta Friedemann-Sanchez challenges the notion that women are simply exploited by jobs in the global assembly line. Instead, she provides a nuanced analysis of how women use jobs in Colombia's flower industry to resist subordination at home and challenge traditional household structures where men control the household resources, including women's time and where domestic violence is widespread and accepted. This book will challenge us to rethink the relationships between theglobal economy and women's well-being...--Cheryl Doss Anthropologists, feminists, and many others argue that gender exploitation provides the competitive edge for off-shore production. Greta Freidemann-Sanchez insightfully challenges this common wisdom in her study of Colombia's flower industry. Women, she finds, seek work in the flower companies, find satisfaction in their jobs, and use their monetary power to refashion gender relations. Friedemann-Sanchez ingeniously blends different methodologies and theoretical approaches with feminist economics and ethnography to illuminate the contemporary situation for the reader...--Stephen Gudeman
About Greta Friedemann-Sanchez
Greta Friedemann-Sanchez is assistant professor at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.