Saturday, February 22, 2020

Week 7.1 and 7.2 - Labor, Neoliberalism, Gender

The readings (by Ong and Hoffman) this week focus on different types of labor in a neoliberal economy. In each of the readings, how does gender matter? What is its role in the respective economy? What are the characteristics of labor in the respective readings? How do spiritual beliefs emerge in the Malaysian factory and does this say about the pressures of neoliberal economy on women in the Global South? What shape does labor take in Mayengema's mining sites (Hoffman Reading)? How is masculinity and the body shaped by this type of labor? 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Work of Waiting 6.1

According to June Hee Kwon, the social relationship of migrant workers to their respective waiting partners in the aftermath of the Korean Wind, emphasizes the unrecognized distinction between the labor of the waiting, alongside the chosen spouse migrating to Korea for better opportunity. Social relations are different for the Korean Chinese because their marriage or kinship is highly reliant on remittance through their partners. Kwon's case studies of the families separated due to lack of work and the economic interdependence faced by  Yanbian "botolis," greatly signifies the toxic nature of capitalism and the eventual drift or resentment it causes among these families. 

The case-study I found most interesting was of Mr. Ho whose wife was the sole breadwinner of the family, ultimately shifting her personality to regard money as the most important thing in her life. Mr Ho's account stressed the constructive and destructive natures of money, which transformed the bond between him and his wife, to what was once held by patriarchal constructs is now subjecting Mr. Ho to feelings of feminization and insecurity due to the dominant role of his wife (490). Kwon's analysis of this remittance-based relationship provided an insight into specific capitalistic economies that pushes vulnerable individuals into depths of money oriented relations, where the migrant worker becomes the dominant figure and those who are waiting as constantly dependent and powerless without their spouses.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Blog Post 6.1

How are social relationships shaped by different aspects of capitalism? How do different configurations of social relationships shape specific capitalism economies, global or local?

“Were those transfers gifts or compensation? If gifts, Kritzik had to pay gift tax on the money; if compensation the sisters had to pay income tax” (Zelizer 829). This quote from the first case described by Zelizer showcases that a simple exchange of funds in an interpersonal relationship can be monitored and have legal repercussions. The connection of money, taxation, and capitalism creates a market for legal action to be taken. For personal matters such as receiving a divorce, getting married, or just being in a long term relationship, court is often included. With court comes court fees, lawyer fees, and many more costs.  This creates a sense that personal relationships are ruled by capitalism as these are all seen as necessary services. As well as the idea of womens sexulaity being owned by men being connected often with divorce. The type of defined relationship also calls into question how one is taxed. If a domesticate partners exchanges money, then it is tax free. Where as a lover-mistress or patron-prostitute exchange would be taxed. Although in differing ways. In the lover-mistress scenario it is the lover who is taxed (which resembles the ideologie that it is the man’s duty to finance his female counterpart). While in the patron-prostitute scenario it is the prostitute that is taxed for “income” (which appears as a punishment for sexuality). These legal cases all boil down to the label of the social relationship. After deciding the social relationship, the legal rulings are made. Thus showcasing that capitalism has shaped social relationships to the point that social relationships now define the compensation. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Work of Waiting blog post


In June Hee Kwon’s article The Work of Waiting, she discusses the concept of the transnational family which is a “…increasingly common contemporary social form…” (pp. 480). I thought that this form of living was interesting because of the fact that people going to different countries to obtain wealth and get jobs to send money back home is not a recent phenomenon, but it seems to definitely be linked to the rise of capitalism. The part that I thought was the most important was the “waiting” factor that many people have to endure while waiting for their loved ones to return and the isolation and fear that comes with that waiting. On the one hand, “…waiting and remittances represent a coeval embodiment, both promise and love, in support of a family’s future through a deferral of togetherness” (pp. 493) but there is also a fear that a person’s partner will ask for a divorce or have an affair. It is important to focus on both parties in these kinds of relationships because people need to know the effects that transnational labor migration has of the people who have to stay behind, which I often find is lost in these kinds of narratives.

Money and Intimacy Blog Post


Through “Money and Intimacy,” Zelizer takes up the notion of the three different lenses in which we can view social relationships: “hostile worlds”, “nothing but”, or “differentiated ties.” Zelizer notes that all of these are answers that have been given in social science but contends that the most appropriate way to view the relationship between social relationships and money is “differentiated ties.” As illustrated in “Money and Intimacy,” social relationships are not always hostile when combined with money, and these relationships are also more substantive than just economic transactions. With both of these then, it is harder to actually see them as ways that we should view relationships and money. 

I think an important take-away from the reading to help us understand how capitalism can affect social relationships was Zelizer’s citation of Clifford Geertz, who prescribed to the idea that money being involved in social relationships can actually make them more impactful or valuable. Within the scope of American late-capitalism, I think that using this viewpoint is important. Within late capitalism, we have seen and discussed the way that individuals are impacted by the economy and the fragile relationship they often have with the economy and their own bank account. Students now are choosing to take a leap of faith in a romantic relationship by investing what (usually) little money they have, and this undoubtedly is a testament to Geertz’s commentary.

Week 6.1 & 6.2 Social Relations and Capitalism

In any of the readings assigned this week, how are social relationships shaped by different aspects of capitalism? How do different configurations of social relationships shape specific capitalism economies, global or local?

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Week 5.2 - Millenial Capitalism (Commarof)

What are the specific characteristics of "millenial capitalism" (also known as neoliberalism)? what are some changes in labor and consumption post the 1990s? How does spirit and religious ethic play into this new phase of capitalism?