S-Space College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학) Institute of Cultural Studies(비교문화연구소) 비교문화연구 비교문화연구 vol.02 (1995)
Women Workers in a South Asian Plantation System
- Jain, Shobhita
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 비교문화연구소
- 비교문화연구, Vol.2, pp. 253-270
- In a plantation setting, the economic side of the system determines the nature of social arrangements. To the extent cultural and other factors that aid the process of production and capital accumulation are retained and perpetuated; they reinforce certain values and norms and thus create the special style of life, so typically associated with the plantations all over the world.
My arrangements are that (i) certain features of the laboring community in the plantation are retained because they help in the process of capital accumulation while those posing obstruction in its way are systematically made to become subservient or sometimes even obsolete and (ii) a pattern of gender-roles with egalitarian norms among the workers helps them to cope with and adjust to plantation authoritarianism.
These arguments are elaborated in terms of gender-roles in the laboring community on a tea plantation in Assam, India. I particularly refer to the existence of relative sexual equality among the tea garden workers in Assam. Generally, in most plantation communities, female labor is found to be doubly exploited and oppressed because the economic system uses it as a source of cheap labor and social relations between the sexes at all levels are characterized by male domination.
However, somewhat different patterns are not so hard to find. The presentation is divided into four parts, namely, (i) historical background of the tea garden workforce in Assam, (ii) social stratification on a typical tea garden, (iii) nature of gender-roles in the laboring community and (iv) conclusion, which shows that the present distribution of rewards within the plantation system reflects the contributing aspect of gender-roles to effect the workers' survival in an exploitative capitalist system.
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