Spirits of Resistance and Capitalist Discipline, Second Edition

Factory Women in Malaysia

By Aihwa Ong
Introduction by Carla Freeman

Subjects: Anthropology Of Work, Women's Studies, Cultural Anthropology, Development, Industrial / Labor Relations
Series: SUNY series in the Anthropology of Work
Paperback : 9781438433547, 294 pages, September 2010
Hardcover : 9781438433554, 294 pages, September 2010

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction by Carla Freeman
List of Abbreviations
PART I. Capitalist Development and Cultural Experience
1. Spirits and Discipline in Capitalist Transformation
2. Malay Peasants from Subsistence to Commodity Production
PART II. The Kampung Society of Coastal Selangor
3. Tropical Confluences: Rural Society, Capital, and the State
4. Sungai Jawa: Differentiation and Dispersal
5. Domestic Relations: The Reconfiguration of Family Life
6. Marriage Strategies: Negotiating the Future
PART III. Neophyte Factory Women in Late Capitalism
7. The Modern Corporation: Manufacturing Gender Hierarchy
8. Neophyte Factory Women and the Negative Image
9. Spirits of Resistance
10. Conclusion

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.