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The hegemony of men in global value chains: Why it matters for labour governance

McCarthy, L., Soundararajan, V. & Taylor, S. (2021). The hegemony of men in global value chains: Why it matters for labour governance. Human Relations, 74(12), pp. 2051-2074. doi: 10.1177/0018726720950816


Substandard labour practices continue to be observed in global value chains (GVCs), even where there are strong legal frameworks and in those that engage with ethical accreditation schemes. We argue that this indicates a slow rate of progressive change in GVC labour governance, that is due in part to the lack of attention paid to the interplay of men, masculinities and GVC operation. We offer a reading of Jeff Hearn’s ‘hegemony of men’ framework as a means of showing and deconstructing men’s power within GVC labour standards and welfare programmes, to understand how particular forms of masculinity are reproduced to detrimental effect. Our critical review of the GVC literature emphasises the need to recognise how the social category of ‘men’ has both material and discursive effects on GVCs. We then present a research agenda that emphasises how an intersectional lens on the hegemony of men can surface how complexities of race, class, caste and other experiences of working in GVCs interact with dominant forms of masculinity. This would significantly enhance our understanding of how governance mechanisms might be better designed and operationalised in GVCs, for the betterment of all.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page ( Request permissions for this article.
Publisher Keywords: feminism, ,gender, global value chains, governance, hegemony, intersectionality, labour, masculinities, men
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

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