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The Global Construction of Gender: Home-Based Work in the Political Economy of the 20th Century
     

The Global Construction of Gender: Home-Based Work in the Political Economy of the 20th Century

by Elisabeth Prugl
 

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Gender constructions do not stop at state boundaries.
Global understandings of masculinity and femininity can emerge out of the matrix of international politics. Proposing an innovative conception of global politics by de-emphasizing state actors and instead analyzing competing transnational discourses, The Global Construction of Gender focuses

Overview

Gender constructions do not stop at state boundaries.
Global understandings of masculinity and femininity can emerge out of the matrix of international politics. Proposing an innovative conception of global politics by de-emphasizing state actors and instead analyzing competing transnational discourses, The Global Construction of Gender focuses specifically on people who work at home for pay. Prügl explores the debates and rhetoric surrounding home-based workers that have taken place in global movements and multilateral organizations since the early 1900s in order to trace changing conceptions of gender over the course of this century.
As Prügl relates, home-based workers, both urban and rural, engage in a broad array of activities: they "sew garments, embroider, make lace, roll cigarettes, weave carpets, peel shrimp, prepare food, polish plastic, process insurance claims, edit manuscripts, and assemble artificial flowers, umbrellas, and jewelry." These (mostly female) workers are widely recognized as underpaid and exploited. In investigating their plight, Prügl describes the rules that have separated home and work and, in the process, created a diverse array of distinctly gendered identities, including that of the working mother as a social problem, the wage-earning worker as a male breadwinner, the crafts-producing woman as the symbol of Third World nationhood, the woman micro-entrepreneur as the heroine of structural adjustment, and the new androgynous home-based consultant/freelancer/teleworker as the exemplary worker of a flexibly organized global economy.

Editorial Reviews

Spike Peterson
An original and innovative analysis of how constructivism´s 'rules´ approach can be relevant to research topics both in feminist studies and international relations.
Kathleen A. Staudt
Blending gender-constructions in global networks with a solid grounding in feminist international relations scholarship, Elisabeth Prügl has made a very original contribution by writing the only study specifically focusing on home-based workers in the context of International Labour Organization-connected networks.
Booknews
Neither housewives nor domestic workers are Pr<:u>gl's subject, but people, most of them women, who work at home for money at such jobs as sewing garments, preparing food, processing insurance claims, and assembling umbrellas. She affirms the feminist contention that gender politics pervades world politics and presents evidence that gender is a global construct that results from practices that connect arguments at all levels of politics and society, including the international. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231115605
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
09/02/1999
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.69(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Spike Peterson
An original and innovative analysis of how constructivism's 'rules'approach can be relevant to research topics both in feminist studies and international relations.

Meet the Author

Elisabeth Prügl is associate professor of international relations at Florida International University.

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