Chihuahua’s missing labor movement : the role of emotions in maquiladora work




Márquez, Alejandro Márquez

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The maquiladora industry was established in northern Mexico with the objective of providing employment opportunities to the growing population in the region. However, the terms of employment linked to the global economy limit the organizational capacity of workers to improve their working conditions. These terms shape an emotional habitus among maquiladora workers that prevents mobilization and reinforces a “hard-working” attitude predisposed to tolerate unsatisfactory labor relations concomitant with industrial deregulation. In my investigation, I analyze the emotional habitus of workers through cultural, productive, and political deregulation mechanisms employed in the sector. The cultural tool promotes a new labor philosophy focused on safeguarding employment sources in Mexico; production schemes individualize reward and punitive systems that are installed in constellations of local and international authoritative figures; and the political component prevents legitimate forms of organization through coopted labor unions. As a result, predispositions of workers to mobilize grievances in the maquiladora industry are unlikely. This report seeks to involve the social structures of emotions in discussions concerning political behavior and social movement literature.



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