The Factory Hierarchy in the Village: Recruitment Networks and Labour Control in Kong Pisei District of Cambodia

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Laura Prota
Melanie Beresford


Most analyses of the garment value chain begin at the factory production line. We approach the value chain instead from the perspective of the village community from which workers are recruited. In our Cambodian case study, we show that the factory’s hierarchical relationships are replicated within the village. Using network analysis we fnd that recruitment networks are largely controlled by factory supervisors and can become a mechanism of control over the labour force. We further show that the factory hierarchy can influence the pattern of capital accumulation and economic change within the village. Our results demonstrate that the value chain cannot be treated as if it ends at the factory floor. Moreover, corporate social responsibility policies, whether state, corporate or buyer-instigated, cannot by themselves eliminate ‘sweatshop’ conditions.


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