Survival, camraderie and aspirations: the intimate lives of Chinese and Vietnamese women in Melbourne's 1990s textiles industry
AffiliationSchool of Historical and Philosophical Studies
Document TypeHonours thesis
Access StatusOnly available to University of Melbourne staff and students, login required
© 2019 Vivian Lu
This thesis examines the working subjectivities of female Chinese and Vietnamese textiles workers in 1990s Melbourne, with a particular focus on raced and gendered agencies. While traditional labour historians elucidate worker resistance through protest and trade union dynamics, such a framework does little to account for the 'hidden' agency of migrant workers who were outwardly circumspect and forbearing. Drawing extensively on oral history interviewing and diasporic memory, this thesis takes a ‘history from below’ approach and hones in on the intimate, personal dimensions of garment factory work that were central to the contestation of power. In doing so, it demonstrates how persistence and tacit expressions of resistance in the workplace amongst Chinese and Vietnamese textiles workers were located in interpersonal factory relationships, class aspirations and motherhood.
Keywordsdiaspora; labour history; textiles workers; migration; Chinese migrants; Vietnamese migrants; female workers; textiles industry; Melbourne; oral history; working class; migrant labour; trade union; Australian migration; Australian history; migration history
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