Women learning in garment work: Solidarity and sociality



Fenwick T (2008) Women learning in garment work: Solidarity and sociality. Adult Education Quarterly, 58 (2), pp. 110-128.

Abstract: This article explores processes and possibilities for critical learning in the workplace, with a focus on workers labouring in what are often exploitive and dehumanizing conditions. The argument is based on a study of work-life learning of women, mostly new immigrants, employed long-term at an Alberta garment manufacturing plant. It is argued that their negotiations of work conditions are nested in various areas of learning associated with everyday practices, small communities, labour organizing processes, and English learning classes. These areas are argued to have generated forms of solidarity emerging through learning about sociality, resistance, and personal worth. These solidarities appear to be configured by energies of both transformation and reproduction that are threaded together and generated simultaneously as women learned to survive within the system while supporting one another in a vital interdependent social network. The discussion explores how these dynamics unfolded, and their effects on how different women positioned themselves and their knowledge.

critical learning; workplace learning; garment work; Transformative learning; Critical pedagogy; Clothing trade; Women; Solidarity

Adult Education Quarterly: Volume 58, Issue 2

Publication date29/02/2008
PublisherSAGE Publications

People (1)


Professor Tara Fenwick

Professor Tara Fenwick

Emeritus Professor, Education