Like a family? Values, Hierarchies and Child Labour in Myanmar’s Small Businesses Sector

Tea shop in Myanmar

Like a family? Values, Hierarchies and Child Labour in Myanmar’s Small Businesses Sector

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
Venue: 
Dahrendorf Room
Speaker(s): 
Laura Hornig (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle)
Convenor: 
Matthew J Walton
Series: 
Burma/Myanmar Events in Oxford

Drawing on ethnographic data gathered in Pathein, Myanmar, the paper investigates the moral underpinnings of responsibilities and hierarchies in small businesses, specifically the question of what makes a good employer. It will show how responsibilities beyond the mere paying of wages do not overcome the socio-economic gap between workers and employers, and that essentially, the shop floor remains an arena of control and inequality. The main case study is a tea shop, where a large part of the workforce is underage. Incorporating the perspectives of employers, workers and their families, customers, and agents, this talk will outline the complex moral arguments surrounding the employment of children and children’s roles as economic actors.

Laura Hornig is a PhD Candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle (Germany), specializing in economic anthropology. She is also a co-founder of the Berlin-based think tank “Myanmar-Institut e.V.”