Global production and trade networks have significant transformative effects on production regimes across the Global South, and tend to produce particular work regimes and workplaces at the sites of production. CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) interventions similarly seek to reshape production processes in their search to improve labour conditions and protect workers’ rights. However, workers’ voices and their preferences for particular work regimes and employment conditions are rarely considered in such debates. Drawing on data from the Tiruppur garment cluster in South India, the article presents ethnographic evidence on what workers themselves make of the work regimes and ethical codes of labour practice produced under neoliberal governance. It explores how garment workers engage with different labour regimes and why some workers actively seek to avoid employment in companies where Fordist regimes prevail and CSR policies are implemented. Such avoidance and exit strategies amount to a critique of particular neoliberal labour regimes that seek to control labour and curtail its freedom and dignity at work.
De Neve, G. Fordism, flexible specialisation and CSR: How Indian garment workers critique neoliberal labour regimes. Ethnography (2012) : [DOI: 10.1177/1466138112463801]