Cover of Gendered Commodity Chains by Edited by Wilma A. Dunaway
Gendered Commodity Chains
Seeing Women's Work and Households in Global Production
Edited by Wilma A. Dunaway


312 pages.
from $35.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804787949
Paperback ISBN: 9780804789080
Ebook ISBN: 9780804788960

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Gendered Commodity Chains is the first book to consider the fundamental role of gender in global commodity chains. It challenges long-held assumptions of global economic systems by identifying the crucial role social reproduction plays in production and by declaring the household as an important site of production. In affirming the importance of women's work in global production, this cutting-edge volume fills an important gender gap in the field of global commodity and value chain analysis.

With thirteen chapters by an international group of scholars from sociology, anthropology, economics, women's studies, and geography, this volume begins with an eye-opening feminist critique of existing commodity chain literature. Throughout its remaining five parts, Gendered Commodity Chains addresses ways women's work can be integrated into commodity chain research, the forms women's labor takes, threats to social reproduction, the impact of indigenous and peasant households on commodity chains, the rapidly expanding arenas of global carework and sex trafficking, and finally, opportunities for worker resistance. This broadly interdisciplinary volume provides conceptual and methodological guides for academics, graduate students, researchers, and activists interested in the gendered nature of commodity chains.

About the author

Wilma A. Dunaway is Professor of Sociology in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. She is the author of four books, including most recently Women, Work, and Family in the Antebellum Mountain South (2008).

"Wilma Dunaways's Gendered Commodity Chains: Seeing women's Work and Households in Global Production is a stunning collaboration that will inspire further conceptual work and research in fields as diverse as anthropology, economics, development studios, sociology, and geography. The prose is crystal clear, accessible, and compelling."

—Altha J. Cravey, American Journal of Sociology

"Wilma A. Dunaway's edited volume contributes to the fields of economics, development, and gender studies by drawing attention to fundamental features of the capitalist system that have long exploited women . . . Dunaway superbly describes how women's unpaid labor and home-based production lowers the value of labor power, cheapens wage rates, externalized costs to households, and creates levels of exploitation to the direct benefit of capitalists . . . Dunaway's volume provides a pivotal contribution to the study of commodity chains by exposing how capitalists externalize hidden costs to women's uncompensated and inequitable reproductive and productive labor with direct ramifications on the sustainability of households. Communities, local economies, and ecosystems worldwide."

—Nicole Coffey Kellett, Journal of Anthropological Research

"[B]oth the analysis and case studies brought together in this book are based on strong scholarly research. Combined, they provide important insights into key aspects of the gendered dimensions of commodity chains, and rightly establish gender as central to the analysis. For those in accord with a World Systems perspective, the book is a must read that will provide a foundation for future investigation. For those with differing perspectives on gender, development, and global value chains, this is a thought-provoking book that will help to stimulate much needed future debate and research."

—Stephanie Ware Barrientos, Gender and Development

"A collective project between Virginia Tech and SUNY Binghamton, original essays from both novice researchers and senior scholars use ethnographic, archival, and some social survey data to provide alternatives to neoclassical and neoliberal economic analysis . . . Recommended."

—G. M. Massey, CHOICE

"Work on gender, while very difficult because of the resistance, is also very urgent. We have, as the saying goes, not a minute to lose, which is why this book constitutes an important contribution not merely to the social sciences but to the larger world political scene."

—From the foreword by Immanuel Wallerstein

"This volume enters uncharted territory. As well as a range of sectors and geographical case studies, it provides a far-reaching theoretical reappraisal of the significance of women's work—both paid and unpaid, hidden and visible—to the accumulation of capital and the social reproduction systems that underlie the accumulation of capital. Unmissable."

—Professor Ruth Pearson, University of Leeds

"From theoretical and methodological analysis to empirical work, this volume fills a vacuum in commodity chain studies to show how 'gender is everywhere.' Gendered Commodity Chains will be of great use for teaching and research, with many policy implications and suggestions for future research."

—Lourdes Benería, Cornell University

"This is a genuinely exciting collection that fills a critical need. Gendered Commodity Chains contains interesting empirical case studies, as well as probing conceptual pieces that synopsize larger bodies of recent research—and then push the envelope much further! It will be an invaluable addition to course readings in fields including development studies, comparative sociology, international studies, political economy, and feminist studies, and a must for academic libraries."

—David A. Smith, University of California, Irvine