Maternal Spectres: Reproduction of Cinematic Images and the Feminisation of Workforces in South Asia

Majumder, Sanjita. 2023. Maternal Spectres: Reproduction of Cinematic Images and the Feminisation of Workforces in South Asia. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

No full text available
[img] Text (Maternal Spectres: Reproduction of Cinematic Images and the Feminisation of Workforces in South Asia)
VIS_thesis_MajumderS_2023.pdf - Accepted Version
Permissions: Administrator Access Only until 31 August 2026.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (2MB)

Abstract or Description

The research examines the feminisation of factory workforces in South Asia, focusing on the textile and garment factories located in South India. The study delves into the shifting dynamics of reproductive labour within the postcolonial factory by highlighting indirect forms of labour resistances that have emerged under the influence of neoliberal capitalism, encompassing phenomena like mass hysteria, spirit possessions, hauntings, and worker suicides.

The mass feminization of workforces prompts crucial questions about maternity and reproductive labour. In line with this, my research contends that a spectre of maternity haunts feminised factories, which is intimately linked to the patriarchal-capitalist collusion in maintaining the devaluation of reproductive labour belonging to the subaltern proletariat. By addressing the overlap between technologies of reproduction—mainly the film camera—and reproductive technologies that extend to global outsourcing through commercial reproduction and surrogacy markets, I examine the ways in which patriarchal foreclosures of the maternal realm and the capitalist appropriation of reproductive labour haunt the feminised factories.

My research focuses on the impact of film technologies and their strategic integration into the capitalist factory floor to enhance and optimize labour efficacy, while also examining political images of subaltern women’s labour resistances within the postcolonial archives. By engaging with cinema, feminist Marxism, and subaltern labour resistances, with a particular focus on reproduction and maternity, my contention is that technical reproduction mechanizes the ‘soul’ of the subaltern proletariat, while displacing patriarchal-capitalist fantasies of technical automation onto the female corporeality.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Cinema, Labour, Subaltern, Feminist Marxism, Social Reproduction Theory, Film, Media, Reproductive Labour, Post colonialism

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


31 August 2023

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

12 Sep 2023 09:58

Last Modified:

12 Sep 2023 09:58


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)