Handbook of the International Political Economy of Production
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of Production

Edited by Kees van der Pijl

This Handbook provides a state-of-the-art overview of the changing world of global production. Chapters cover the geography of why and where jobs are moving in both manufacturing and services. The authors discuss topics relating to the human and natural basis on which production rests, from the consequences of exploitation and marginalization on body and mind, to sex work, biotechnology, and the prospects for ecological re-balancing. This Handbook will appeal to academics at all levels interested in political economy, international studies and politics, as well as trade unionists and NGO activists.
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Chapter 25: Servicing the world: women, transnational migration and sex work in a neoliberal era

Christine B.N. Chin


In this chapter, I examine the relationship between women, transnational migration and sex work. My analysis demonstrates why and how this relationship is directly relevant to the study of International Political Economy (IPE), as it also sustains some of the major structures and processes characterizing neoliberal globalization. For the past three decades or so, feminist scholars have explicitly and implicitly challenged the marginalization of gender in IPE. Two of the most salient research trajectories focus respectively on the feminization of labour in transnational production, and a mutually dependent relationship between transnational production and reproduction. Both, importantly, incorporate and highlight women’s internal and cross-border migrations, for example, from women’s urban in-migration for factory work (see, for example, Ong 1987; Wolf 1992; Wright 2006; C. Freeman 2000; Nash and Kelly 1983) to women’s cross-border migration for domestic work (see, for example, Chin 1998; Constable 1997; Parrenas 2001).

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