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Title: Classes of labour' at the margins of global commodity chains in India and China
Authors: Mezzadri, A
Fan, LL 
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Source: Development and change, July 2018, v. 49, no. 4, p. 1034-1063 How to cite?
Journal: Development and change 
Abstract: This article deploys the concept of classes of labour' to map and compare non-factory labour relations in the garment chain across Delhi and Shanghai metropolitan areas. It contributes to commodity studies by unpacking the great complexity of mechanisms of adverse incorporation' of informal work in global commodity chains and production circuits. Field findings reveal the great social differentiation at work in informalized settings in the two countries, and suggest that while the margins of garment work are characterized by high levels of vulnerability, they may also open up new possibilities for workers to resist or re-appropriate some degree of control over their labour and reproductive time. While these possibilities depend on regional trajectories, informal labour arrangements do not only result from capital's quest for flexibility. Workers actively participate in shaping their own labour geography, even when exposed to high employment insecurity. The conclusions more broadly discuss the merits of comparative analysis to study labour in global production circuits.
ISSN: 0012-155X
EISSN: 1467-7660
DOI: 10.1111/dech.12412
Rights: © 2018 The Authors. Development and Change published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Institute of Social Studies.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The following publication Mezzadri, A., & Fan, L. (2018). ‘Classes of labour’ at the margins of global commodity chains in India and China. Development and Change, 49(4), 1034-1063 is available at
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