Fighting the Sweatshop Regime: A conversation with Alessandra Messadri

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On the 10th anniversary of the horrific Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, this interview is part of our special issue exploring working conditions in the garment and textile industry across South Asia.

Given that similar logics of neoliberal capitalism govern garment labour regimes across the global South — tough, unending labour in poor working conditions for meagre wages — here we explore the case of India to ask: How were the ripples of Rana Plaza felt in India’s garment sector? Did the tragedy affect India’s position in the global garments value chain? Did the horrors of Rana Plaza serve as an opportunity, whether momentary or sustained, for labour mobilisation around healthier working conditions? How have Indian manufacturers navigated the (nominally) greater scrutiny on the garments sector post-Rana Plaza?

In this interview, Mihika Chatterjee discusses the economic dynamics, labour organisation, and political contingencies in India’s garment ‘labour regimes’ with Dr. Alessandra Mezzadri, a leading critical scholar of labour and gender in India. Her book ‘The Sweatshop Regime’ is based on nearly two decades of research on the garment sector in India and mounts a formidable critique of the exploitative conditions under which workers toil to make a living. Alessandra is a Reader in Global Development and Political Economy at SOAS, University of London.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationJamhoor
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2023


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