Revisiting Garment Value Chains In India
Sona Mitra
The Sweatshop Regime: Labouring Bodies, Exploitation, And Garments Made In India by Alessandra Mezzadri Cambridge University Press, 2018, 258 pp., 595
October 2018, volume 42, No 10

A large section of the literature analysing the global value chains and global production networks have remained restricted to the analysis of production processes: their organizational structures, nature and character of the variety of governance systems of the value chains as well as the technological arrangements around the same. The literature has often looked at the value chains as a fragmented process of surplus accumulation and thus has limited the analysis to an external boundary, which were unable to transcend such boundaries and integrate with the labour processes within the value chains. The literature around garment value chains also suffered from similar constraints, especially in the context of India, where an analysis of garment industries has remained confined mainly to micro-study based approaches, focused mainly at a particular centre of production or region and attempting to locate it within the larger garment industry in India. These studies have undoubtedly provided invaluable inputs to building a composite understanding of the sector, the processes and organization of production and its impact on the labour processes. However, such literature, especially in the current decade, marks a glaring lacuna in providing a macro overview and a holistic picture of the garment sector as such. The book under review by Alessandra Mezzadri plugs this gap in the literature not only by presenting the complexities involved in both the production and labour processes within the garment sector in India at a national level, but also goes deeper into the issues of labour exploitation, oppression, unfreedom and bodily depletion faced daily by those who are toiling incessantly for producing these garments that we wear every day.

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