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Introduction: grounds for a spatial ethnography of labor

By Sharad Chari and Vinay Gidwani


We introduce this special issue as a way of bringing insights from the radical geography emerging from the work of Henri Lef√čbvre to ethnographies of work. What does attention to the social production of space under capitalism do for ethnographies of labor and work? We explore this question through three interrelated concepts: spaces of work and structures of feeling; capitalist reproduction and the reproduction of labor; and the spatial dynamics of modernist loss, specifically in experiences of migrant labor. Through these three themes, we show how the articles in this special issue use spatial ethnography to explore the changing grounds of knowledge and practice. Since work is always about the application of human interpretive and manual labor on geographies that are simultaneously natural, spatial, social and cultural, we argue that ethnographies must be as attentive to space and nature as to human creativity, or cultural production. The grounds for ethnographic knowledge of work must be seen in their diverse cultural and cosmological forms, but these forms must also be anchored in lived experience as it is forged in the interplay of active socio-cultural relations and spatial processes

Topics: GN Anthropology, HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Publisher: Sage
Year: 2005
DOI identifier: 10.1177/1466138105060758
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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