SEWING THEIR WAY UP THE SOCIAL LADDER? PATHS TO SOCIAL MOBILITY AND EMPOWERMENT AMONG SRI LANKA’S GLOBAL FACTORY WORKERS.
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Sewing their way up the social ladder? Paths to social mobility and empowerment among Sri Lanka’s global factory workers.

 

Studies on global assembly line workers showcase how gains women make are counteracted by physical, social and psychological problems stemming from long hours of working, low wages and the precarity of work. Few studies analyse these workers’ experiences after they terminate factory work. Using life histories collected over 12 years and in-depth interviews, this article highlights the different paths former workers pursue to achieve social mobility and identifies key work and life experiences that contribute to social mobility and empowerment. I argue that contrary to popular belief global factory work does lead to forms of social mobility and empowerment.

Keywords: Former global factory workers, social mobility, empowerment, Sri Lanka

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