1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of the Anthropology of Labor

Edited By Sharryn Kasmir, Lesley Gill Copyright 2022
    452 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    452 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Handbook of the Anthropology of Labor offers a cross-cultural examination of labor around the world and presents the breadth of a growing and vital subfield of anthropology.

    As we enter a new crisis-ridden age, some laboring people are protected, while others face impoverishment and death, as they work in unsafe conditions, migrate to gain livelihoods, languish in the unwaged sector, and become targets of law enforcement. The contributions to this volume address questions surrounding the categorization and visibility of work, the relationship of labor to the state, and how divisions of labor map onto racial, gendered, sexual, and national inequalities. In addition to the emotional dimensions and subjectivities of labor, the book also examines how laborers can articulate common experiences and identities, build organizational forms, and claim power together.

    Bringing together the work of an impressive group of international scholars, this Handbook is essential for anthropologists with an interest in labor and political economy, as well as useful for scholars and students in related fields such as sociology and geography.

    PART I

    Divisions of labor 1

    1 To have a life: labor reproduction, value, and negative value

    Susana Narotzky

    2 The many workers of capitalism

    Aviva Chomsky

    3 Labour, property and persons: refl ections from Papua New Guinea

    Keir Martin

    4 Labor and merchant capitalism in Myanmar and Thailand

    Stephen Campbell

    5 Between the labor theory of value and the value theory of labor: a

    program note

    Don Kalb

    6 Social reproduction and the heterogeneity of the population as labour

    Gavin Smith

    7 Labor in the time of COVID- 19 (with apologies toGabriel García Márquez)

    Andrew Herod


    Organizing, mobilizing, and resisting

    8 Labour organisation: ‘traditional’ trade unions and beyond

    Sian Lazar

    9 Class analysis across the “Capitalist/ Communist” divide: practicing the

    anthropology of labor in Kerala and Cuba

    Luisa Steur

    10 New forms of labor and resistance in the era of fi nancialization

    Ida Susser

    11 International unions as a sphere of working- class (re)organization:

    anthropological insights into Latin American steel workers

    Julia Soul

    12 Working- class, political organization, and popular economy in Argentina

    María Inés Fernández Álvarez

    13 Factory takeovers for production under self- management: three

    examples from Europe

    Dario Azzellini

    14 Laboring for whiteness: the rise of Trumpism and what that tells us

    about racial and gendered capitalism in the United States

    Jeff Maskovsky and Julian Aron Ross

    15 Food, labor, and political struggle

    Steve Striffl er


    Workplaces, non- places, and labor regimes

    16 Working the supply chain: towards an anthropology of

    maritime logistics

    Elisabeth Schober

    17 Space– time compression: the workplace regime of transnational

    capitalist agriculture in northern Mexico

    Christian Zlolniski

    18 Tea in troubled times: labour in Indian postcolonial plantations

    Jayaseelan Raj

    19 Two workplaces and a revolution: labor in brick kilns and food

    factories in western lowland Nepal

    Michael Hoff mann

    20 Freedom at work inside and outside the gig economy

    Deepa Das Acevedo

    21 In the Romanian bubble of outsourced creativity

    Oana Mateescu


    Migrant labor

    22 Border walls and passages: eff ects on labor exploitation

    Josiah Heyman

    23 The unmaking of Puerto Rican migrant farmworkers in the 1970s

    Ismael García Colón

    24 Contract migrant farmworkers in North America: “free” to

    be “unfree”

    Leigh Binford

    25 Migration, “aff ective” labour and capitalist reproduction

    Winnie Lem

    26 Going global: Philippine migrant encounters with mobile capital

    Pauline Gardiner Barber

    27 Social justice writing and photography: the reality check

    and beyond

    David Bacon and John W. McKerley

    PART V

    Aff ect, values, and subjectivity of labor

    28 A strike to remember: ethnographic refl ections on the conditions of

    possibility for labor resistance in the US heartland

    Chandana Mathur

    29 ‘We are supposed to be the middle class’: intra- personal responsibilities,

    hierarchical development projects and union mobilisation on Zambia’s


    Thomas McNamara and James Musonda

    30 Technologies of transformation

    Andrew Sanchez

    31 Beyond birthing: the labor(s) of doulas and Black birth workers

    D á na- Ain Davis

    32 Class and labor organization in building ships and dreams

    Manos Spyridakis

    33 Unruly workers and laborless landscapes: the role of marginal places

    and redundant people in energy transitions

    Jaume Franquesa


    Sharryn Kasmir is Professor of Anthropology at Hofstra University, USA. Lesley Gill is Professor of Anthropology at Vanderbilt University, USA.