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Tailoring is a profession, seamstressing is work! Resiting work and reworking gender identities among artisanal garment workers in Quito

  • Economics
  • Linguistics
  • Political Science


Geographers have paid relatively little attention to the processes by which occupations and sites of work become gendered. This case study of Ecuador provides a template for examining how gender identities are constituted in the physical and discursive sites of paid work. Neoliberal restructuring in Ecuador has wrought dramatic changes on work and daily life in Quito. Specifically, economic restructuring is producing new spaces of work in garment production and this presents a moment for examining how existing gender divisions of garment work are being maintained or reworked. This study sets the context for an analysis of the social construct ion of occupational segmentation by examining how the political-economy of neoliberalism is producing new sites of work. Within this context, I examine how gendered discourses of skill are reproduced or transformed with changing demand for workers, and I examine how workers narrate their gender identities as revealed through in-depth discussions of their jobs and their households.

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