Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Workers and clothing: an interlude

This is my favorite picture of myself ever.  Notice geeky frameless glasses, nerdy bookbag, and my confidence that I will make a political difference.  Circa 2003.
  

Style Nation, my thoughts have been heavily tuned to politics lately.  As some of you may know, the rights of public sector worker are under attack in places like Wisconsin (the birthplace of AFSCME) and Ohio. 
I try to keep my nerdy academic pursuits off this blog, but lately, I am unconcerned with style but consumed with politics. 

I'm wearing pink!  I support Public Service.  From the University Paper, circa 2002.


So what does this have to do with fashion and style?  My current paper (which is purely exploratory at this point, and may at some distant future be the basis of a publication) explores the ways in which corporations have "voluntarily" committed themselves to protect human rights, environmental standards, and workers' rights through their supply chain.  Some very skeptical labor rights advocates are even (tepidly) agreeing that some kinds of corporate social responsibility arrangements, particularly those that allow for great participation of stakeholders (trade unions, human rights NGOs) can be effective in helping to enforce rights for workers "on the ground" in Global South factories. This makes me hopeful.  Given that labor costs comprise a very small percentage of an article's total costs, I don't agree that one needs to spend inordinate, inaccessible sums of money to buy ethical clothing.

As I attempt to finish up these papers and continue to immerse myself in the political drama unfolding in my former home state (Rad in Madison- 1980-1984), my appearance here and on the blogsphere may be a bit spotty (I'll still be reading your lovely blogs, but perhaps commenting a bit less).  I apologize for the absence but hopefully I will emerge in a couple weeks with a clearer head, and some information about social responsibility, social auditing, and other aspects of ethical consumption that will hopefully be relevant.  (I've recently learned about which kinds of cut flower ethical labels are more trustworthy).

15 comments:

  1. I've been keeping a close eye on Madison lately as well. However, unlike you I do not have enough facts to take an educated stand on anything like this yet.
    And that is a great picture of you, a student out to make a difference!

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  2. I'm sad about the situations in WI and Ohio. I'm looking forward to hear more about your work.

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  3. Thanks for sharing, Rad. As I get more and more into the ego-centric world of the dissertation/ABD-land I really think it's great to hear about the research of other academic style bloggers. Enjoy your sabbatical.

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  4. I grew up in Wisconsin, and my mom is a second grade teacher. I have about 10 friends, from college or high school, who are teachers in Wisconsin. And working only one state over, I'm totally scared what will happen next! I am glued to the coverage, and blog posts, and facebook photos of my friends at the Capitol!

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  5. Good for you, Rad. And thank you for sharing. I'll miss your presence on the boards, but admire your dedication.

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  6. I really appreciate your comment that one doesn't need to spend huge sums in order to buy ethically-made clothing - sometimes I feel that style bloggers use the opposite as a flimsy argument in order to justify buying expensive clothing. Can't wait to see what comes out of your current research!

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  7. When time allows, Rad, I would be interested in learning more. I too have kept an eye cocked on Wisconsin, as the wave may spread.

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  8. Good luck with the paper, friend! I'd love to know more about it if you have a chance.

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  9. Good luck with the paper -- sounds fascinating. I too am taken by what's going on in Wisconsin and Ohio. Though, I'm teaching a long poem about the UK 1984-85 miner's strike right now so I'm feeling all sorts of concern about the death of trade unions (not helped by the fact that I live in one of the states that doesn't allow teachers to unionize -- and also one of the states with the lowest SAT scores).

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  10. Thanks for posting Amy Goodman! This whole thing is insane.

    Best paper luck, dude!

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  11. Also. These pictures are pretty amazing. Thank you for posting them.

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  12. I love that picture of you (actually both of them). I remember it well. I think I'm in there someone where. love you x

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  13. Also. These pictures are pretty amazing. Thank you for posting them.

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  14. Good luck with your paper, Rad.

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