Subalternization of Asian Women Workers in American Transnational Capitalism in the Late Twentieth Century


Kim, Min Hoe 김민회. 2009. “Subalternization of Asian Women Workers in American Transnational Capitalism in the Late Twentieth Century.” Journal of American Studies 41 (1): 45–71.

Author: Min Hoe Kim 김민회


One thing which Asian American scholars in the late twentieth century have considered as the most controversial issue in relation to Asian women subjectivity is how to recover visibility of Asian women subject and relocate them from the subalternized positions in the processes of multinational, corporate capitalism which collude with the local patriarchies and constantly-reinvented traditions by them. Gayatri Spivak indicates that those systems have erased the Asian women workers' desire not only for becoming an independent subject for those phllucentric labor systems but also for being a consuming subject to which they have produced by themselves. Similarly, Grace Chang, Evelyn Hu-DeHart, Aihwa Ong, and Andrew Ross argue that Asian and Asian immigrant workers have been placed at a doubly oppressive subject by domestic and international economic systems of labor division. By examining the subcontract system and sweatshops which substantially reinforce the collusion of local patriarchal social and economic system with the transnational capitalism, this essay reveals how the transnational corporations manipulate the cheap labor of Asian female workers without facing moral responsibility using subcontract system and further examine ethnic-based advertisement to the Asian countries at which their plants are located. The purpose of this essay is to raise such controversial issues in relation to two patriarchal economic systems on the surface and conclusively seek an alternative to centerizing women subjectivity from the marginalized and sublaternized positions by examining one Korean struggle with local and transnational capitalism.

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Livelihoods, Multi-National Corporations Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: South Korea

Year: 2009

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