Gendered narratives of work, depletion and reversal : the case of home-based seamstresses in Hanoi

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för kulturgeografi och ekonomisk geografi; Lunds universitet/LUMID International Master programme in applied International Development and Management

Abstract: Designed as a case study, this thesis sheds light on women’s narratives about their experiences as home-based seamstresses working in the informal sector in Hanoi. It examines the ways in which social reproduction (SR) intersects with productive activities through the integration of paid work into the domestic space. It brings literature on informality and home-based work into conversation with feminist literature on SR, specifically, depletion through social reproduction (DSR). Hence, by answering the question “How do home-based workers in Hanoi narrate their engagement in productive and SR labour?” this thesis explores why women engage in home-based work. Using the concept of depletion as a diagnostic tool, narratives of depletion revealed lack of adequate resources to maintain social relations, inadequate income, poor well-being including physical and mental health as well as leisure and rest. This poses a crisis in SR not only for women but also for their households and community. Additionally, this text examines instances of mitigation replenishment and transformation to reverse the levels of depletion for those engaged in SR.

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