This dissertation takes as its point of departure the widespread, unprecedented labour unrest among farm workers in export-oriented agriculture in the Western Cape, South Africa, 2012-2013. Referred to in popular discourse as the 'farm worker strike", the protests are widely held to have been initiated by workers in the most insecure positions: seasonal labourers residing outside of farms, and migrants from other South African provinces or further afield in Africa, many of them women. Framed in relation to the post-strike moment, the study explores farm workers" experiences of work and life precarity and resistance, and the links between these phenomena. It draws on multisited
ethnography among differently positioned farm workers, most of whom were active in labour organisations and/or took part in protest action.
Using intersectionality as an analytical sensibility, this dissertation seeks to contribute to discussions in the broad field of gender, neoliberal globalisation and work. How are experiences of work and life precarity shaped by, and contribute to shaping, power inequalities articulated through gender, race/ethnicity and nationality/migration status? What are the interlinkages between precarity, resistance and the multiple expressions of violence in Western Cape farmlands, including
the violence of globalisation under neoliberalism? How do female farm worker activists navigate gendered and racialised discourses and power in forging respectable resistive positions? And how are these issues related to broader global developments, and to Sweden as an important destination for South African wine and deciduous fruit?
This is a doctoral thesis in Gender Studies at Stockholm University, Sweden 2018.