University of Durham
desiguALdades.net: Visiting Doctoral Researcher (01/09/2010 - 31/03/2011)
Durham, County Durham, Great Britain
|Since 09/2010||Doctoral Researcher desiguALdades.net, Berlin, Germany|
|Since 10/2006||PhD in Human Geography, University of Durham (UK)|
|1998-2005||B.A. in Geography (5 ½ - years undergraduate course), Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata (Argentina)|
|2008/2009||Tutor. Modules of “Human Geography” and “Environment and Society”. Department of Geography, University of Durham.|
|2005/2006||Teaching assistant (appointed by contest). Modules of “Regional Geography of Argentina” and “Regional Geography of Latin America”. Department of Geography, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata.|
|2003/2004||Teaching Assistant (appointed by contest). Modules of “Rural Geography” and “Politics and Economics of the Use of Natural Resources”. Department of Geography, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata.|
|2002/2003||Teaching Assistant (appointed by contest). Module of “Political Geography”. Department of Geography, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata.|
Exploring Inequalities in Latin America: Trafficking in Humans and "the Return of the Sweatshop" in early the 21st Century
During recent decades, the clothing industry has undergone thorough transformations worldwide. According to the findings of my PhD thesis, these changes have had dreadful consequences for working conditions in the industry, including nothing less than “the return of the sweatshop” in some European and American cities, and the surge of “sweating systems” in cities where they had never existed. Amongst the latter we may include some Latin American cities (e.g. Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Bogotá) in these, since the mid 1980s there has emerged thousands of small and medium inner-city garment workshops working as subcontractors of clothing companies (be them small businesses for illegal outdoor markets, small and large retail companies, or renowned brands). These “sweating systems” are managed by leaders of immigrant communities who provide the industry with a continuous influx of workers who are in a large portion trafficked into these cities. In this research I aim at understanding the rise of trafficking in humans for the purpose of labour exploitation in Latin America during recent decades. For this purpose, while identifying and describing the main “sweating systems” in large Latin American cities, I will focus in particular on the emergence of a “sweating system” in Buenos Aires since the mid 1980s. In this context, it seems essential to explore the shifting balance of power between capital and labour, as well as the changes in the role of the state that have taken place since the 1970s in Argentina as well as in other Latin American countries. The Latin American experience has been strongly affected by broader shifts in international political economy that have been conceptualised as the passage from Fordism to Post-Fordism (Amin, 1994; Lipietz, 1987; Jessop, 1993), or to Neoliberalism (Castree et al, 2004; Harvey, 2005, 2010; Peck and Tickell, 2002). The crisis of Fordism towards the late 1960s (decreasing corporate profitability, high unemployment, "stagflation", economic and political instability) brought about significant shifts in the international spatial divisions of labour. The increasing financial deregulation and the consequent financialisation of the world economy, not only discouraged industrial production based on large capital investments (since financial speculation may ensure higher profits with lower risks and in shorter terms), but it also subjected it to the whims of financial speculators (Harvey, 1995; Merrifield, 2000). Worldwide, these trends led to (and were timely coupled by) a reorganisation of industrial production. In the fashion industry, which embodies these changes with astonishing clarity, they have triggered an increasing use of subcontracting arrangements which, coupled with other developments (notably the rising importance of fashion), have led to the return of the sweatshop. The existence of trafficking in humans poses serious questions about the progressive discourse of several centre-left wing administrations in Latin America. This is why in this research, I also want to aim at contributing to the long-term conceptualisation of the economic policies of the current centre-left-wing governments that exist in Latin America. In my viewpoint addressing these issues is essential for the analysis of socio-economic inequalities in today’s Latin America. The questions that guide this research are: (a) What are the main flows of human trafficking for labour exploitation within Latin America? And why do they exist? (b) What forces and interests have led to the rise of the sweatshop in large Latin American cities? (c) What is the role of the national state in these matters?
Montero, J (2008) “Slaves sewing your clothes? Garment workers in Buenos Aires.” In Human Geography 1(2). www.hugeog.com
Montero, J (2007) “Cumbre de las Américas en Mar del Plata: victorias, limitaciones y debates de la oposición” [Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata: victories, limitations and debates within activism]. In ACME, Vol. 6.
Montero J (2006) “El ALCA, el Mercosur y el fin de la Historia” [FTAA, Common Market of the South and the End of History]. In Boletín de la Red de Geografía Económica 1(1). Centro de Estudios Alexandre V. Humboldt, Buenos Aires.
Montero, J (2009) “Nuevo Regionalismo en América: el Mercosur como herramienta del Capitalismo central” [New Regionalism in the Americas: the Common Market of the South as a tool of core capitalism]. In Liberali, A M and Gejo, O (Eds) La Argentina como geografía. UNMdP; Centro de Estudios Humboldt; Unión Geográfica de América Latina; and Red Latinoamericana de Estudios Geográficos de la Unión Geográfica Internacional. pp. 59-102.
Montero, J (2004) “Realidad economicista y discurso geográfico: el MERCOSUR como problema” [Economicist reality and geographical discourse: the Common Market of the South as a problema]. In Rivas, R A and Rodríguez, R A (coord.) Problemas latinoamericanos en los siglos XIX y XX. Mar del Plata: Ediciones Suárez. pp. 315-325.
Conference proceedings (referred)
Montero, J (2005) “Economic and regional integration in the periphery: Reproducing the model, renovating discourses.” In Conference Proceedings of the IV International Conference of Critical Geography. 8-13 January. Mexico City.
Montero, J (2002) “Obstacles for the Free Trade Area of the Americas and the ‘military option’: Lights and shadows in Latin America.” In Conference Proceedings of the III International Conference of Critical Geography. 25 June - 1 July. Békéscsaba, Hungary.
Conference proceedings (non referred)
Canestro, F E and Montero, J (2004) “Expoliación minera y ganancias de exportación en la Patagonia argentina” [Mining dispossession in the Argentinean Patagonia]. In Conference Proceedings of the VI Jornadas Internas de Investigación del Departamento de Geografía. 2-3 December. Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata.
Montero, J (2004) “Privatización de recursos pesqueros: Libertad de pocos, tragedia de muchos” [Privatisation of fishing resources: Freedom of the few; tragedy of the many.” In Conference Proceedings of the V Encuentro Nacional de Estudiantes de Geografía. 29 September – 2 October. Universidad Nacional del Centro, Tandil, Argentina.
General Dissemination Articles
Montero, J (2008) “En una casa italiana” [In an Italian house]. In Rebelión. 18 April. Available at http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=66181&titular=en-una-casa-italiana-
“Interview to David Harvey.” In Indymedia Argentina. 30 December, 2005. Available in English at http://www.dur.ac.uk/jeronimo.montero/index_files/Page441.htm
Montero, J (2005) “Área de Libre Comercio de las Américas: El patio trasero bajo arresto” [Free Trade Area of the Americas: the backyard under arrest]. In Tierrafuera: Lateinamerika Netzwerk Lanet, N° 6. Heidelberg -Freiburg-Tübingen, Germany.
Montero, J and Piñero, M (2002) “ALCA: (des)integración Regional y Militarización en América Latina” [FTAA: regional (dis)integration and militarisation in Latin America. In El Mensajero 2(3). Agrupación ATUEL, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata.