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Gender, empire, global capitalism: colonial and corporate expatriate wives
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 16:26 authored by Anne-Meike FechterAnne-Meike Fechter
This paper takes as a starting-point the striking disjunct between the wealth of historical studies on 'gender and empire', and a comparative lack of work that examines corresponding issues in the present. I suggest that discussions of gender and global capitalism are shaped by a focus on poor women, producing limited perspectives. The paper asks if analyses of colonial women could be used to elucidate the positions of a group that shares some of their characteristics, namely corporate expatriate wives. This is illustrated through the pejorative discourses surrounding colonial and contemporary expatriate wives. I argue that such discourse serves to both downplay and legitimise women's incorporation into imperial and commercial enterprises. While it has been demonstrated that women perform substantial emotional labour, I argue that their ideological labour within these projects tends to be overlooked. Expatriate women can thus become the embodiment of their exploitative nature, which problematises the tendency to conceptualise, for example, global capitalism as an inherently masculine enterprise. Recognising expatriate wives as postcolonial subjects also significantly broadens the concept, in the sense that they live in the context of imperial legacies which have been much less examined.
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Department affiliated with
- Anthropology Publications
NotesSubmitted with Examining Expatriate Continuities.
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