Supply Chains and the Human Condition
by Anna Tsing (2009) PDF
This article theorizes supply chain capitalism as a model for understanding both the continent-crossing scale and the constitutive diversity of contemporary global capitalism. In contrast with theories of growing capitalist homogeneity, the analysis points to the structural role of difference in the mobilization of capital, labor, and resources. Here labor mobilization in supply chains is the focus, as it depends on the performance of gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, and citizenship status. The article uses the concept of figuration to show how difference is mobilized within supply chains, and to point to the importance of tropes of management, consumption, and entrepreneurship in workers’ understandings of supply chain labor. These tropes make supply chains possible by bringing together self-exploitation and superexploitation. Diversity is thus structurally central to global capitalism, and not decoration on a common core.
Source: Rethinking Marxism, 21(2), 148–176, 2009
See also: The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins Anna Tsing, 2015