New edition of Aihwa Ong’s classic ethnographic study of Malay women factory workers.
In the two decades since its original publication, Spirits of Resistance and Capitalist Discipline has become an ethnographic classic in the fields of anthropology, labor studies, and gender and globalization studies. Based on anthropological field work in an agricultural district in Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia, Spirits of Resistance captures a moment of profound transformation, illustrated by the disruptions, conflicts, and ambivalences in the lives of Malay women during the rapid industrialization associated with Malaysia's rise as a tiger economy. Aihwa Ong's nuanced approach to the Malay women factory workers' experiences of the contradictions of modern globalized capitalism has inspired subsequent generations of feminist ethnographers in their explorations of key questions of power, resistance, femininities, religious community, and social change. With a new critical introduction by anthropologist Carla Freeman, this new edition of Spirits of Resistance continues to offer an exemplary model of sophisticated analysis of culturally based resistance to the ideology, surveillance, and institutional authority of globalized corporate capitalism.
Aihwa Ong is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her many books include Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality and Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty.