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Ethical Reconstruction? Primitive Accumulation in the Apparel Sector of Eastern Sri Lanka

Research Papers

Ethical Reconstruction? Primitive Accumulation in the Apparel Sector of Eastern Sri Lanka

By Annelies Goger and Kanchana N. Ruwanpura. Research Paper No: 14. Colombo, ICES, 2014. 23p.

This paper examines new garment factories in the former conflict areas in the North and East of Sri Lanka to elucidate the role of capital in the Sri Lankan government’s efforts to rebuild the nation following a longstanding civil war. Drawing on fieldwork in one such garment factory, we show how the state-capital alliance was manifested in this process through the management ethos, the creation of a new class of workers, and an active re-scripting of the narratives of the nation. We argue, therefore, that capital is deeply imbricated in the Sri Lankan State’s militarised nation-building efforts through a process of primitive accumulation.

Annelies Goger has a PhD in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where her research focused on ethical production in the Sri Lankan clothing industry. She has worked at the Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness at Duke University and has a Masters’ Degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley. She also has professional experience as a Policy Analyst at Social Policy Research Associates. She is broadly interested in labour, global supply chains, and development studies.
Kanchana N. Ruwanpura is a Senior Lecturer in Development Geography at the University of Edinburgh. Since completing her PhD at Newnham College, University of Cambridge, she has worked at University of Southampton (2006-13), Hobart & William Smith Colleges, USA (2004-06), University of Munich, Germany (2002-04) and the International Labour Office, Geneva, Switzerland (2001-02). Her research explores the intersection between feminism, ethnicity and labour and has been funded by the ESRC, British Academy, BASAS, and UNICEF. She is the author of a research monograph published by the University of Michigan Press/Zubaan Books, a couple of edited volumes, and several peer reviewed journal articles.

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