Flexible Structures and Torn Lives

Susana Narotzky and Gavin Smith

in Immediate Struggles

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780520245686
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520939011 | DOI:
Flexible Structures and Torn Lives

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This chapter introduces the wide variety of actors who are entangled in the contemporary “flexible” industries of the region. This history, economic, political, social, and cultural, engenders relationships between people that are classlike and thereby produces people who relate to each other as members of classes. The industry has truly achieved dominance; therefore, the cases that exemplify the different kinds of people affected by these changes are focused. Most of these people are involved in shoe production, centered on Elche to the east of Catral and, to a lesser extent, carpet production in Crevillente to the north. The ways class is simultaneously obscured, in part by the multiple nature of household and individual work-career occupations, and yet elusively grasped at by some of those younger actors whose experiences have given them some degree of mobility, are addressed. Despite immediate appearances, it is impossible to imagine the social character or cultural figure of the homeworker, or of the tied laborer or jobber and his wife, beyond the history of the relations of exploitation from which each generation emerges and on which each individual negotiates his or her present. It is the essence of what makes for the dispersed and erratic kinds of regulation inherent in regionalized flexible-production regimes, of which the Vega Baja is just one example.

Keywords: Vega Baja; shoe production; carpet production; flexible structures; torn lives

Chapter.  10779 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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