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Making a global poverty chain: export footwear production and gendered labor exploitation in Eastern and Central Europe

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 18:22 authored by Benjamin SelwynBenjamin Selwyn, Bettina Musiolek, Artemisa Ijarja
This article shows how the Eastern and Central European export footwear sector has experienced economic and social downgrading and immiserating growth over the last three decades. Based on interviews with 209 workers from 12 factories across six countries, it analyses how intense gender-based labor exploitation—entailing dangerous working conditions and poverty pay—underpins the sector’s expansion and extra-regional integration. It draws upon and contributes to the global poverty chain (GPC) approach by (1) showing how the concept is relevant beyond the global south, and (2) providing a gendered political economy perspective from which to conduct GPC analysis. It concludes by suggesting that GPC’s are quite common throughout the world economy, and that their existence requires a more critical approach to much global value chain analysis.


Publication status

  • Published

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  • Accepted version


Review of International Political Economy




Taylor & Francis

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  • International Relations Publications

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