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Mexican Women in American Factories

Free Trade and Exploitation on the Border

By Carolyn Tuttle

Publication Year: 2012

Published by: University of Texas Press


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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p. vii

List of Figures, Tables, and Boxes

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pp. viii-ix

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xiii

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pp. xv-xvi

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Juana and Polita for their never-ending support during the fieldwork on which this book is based. I am forever indebted to them for their guidance, insight, and patience (with my Spanish!) during the four...

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pp. 1-4

Prior to the new millennium economists and policy makers argued that free trade between the United States and Mexico would benefit both Americans and Mexicans. These individuals believed that NAFTA would be a “win-win” proposition that offered...

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1. American Factories in Mexico

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pp. 5-24

Consumers often do not consider where a product has been manufactured or who has assembled it. They recognize Sony and Toyota as Japanese companies; Samsung and Daewoo Electronics as Korean companies; Adidas and Volkswagen as German...

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2. The Border City of Nogales

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pp. 25-53

What makes the border a special place is the juxtaposition of two conflicting realities—the poverty of the country and the richness of the people. As you cross the border and your eyes scan the landscape you see wooden slabs hammered together to form...

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3. House to House: The Method of Analysis

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pp. 54-64

The dual reality of the maquiladora workers in Mexico is not widely known. Most Americans do not know what type of working conditions exist in these “foreign” factories, nor do they know what type of people work there or why...

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4. The History of the Maquila Industry

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pp. 65-89

The first maquilas were built along the Mexico-U.S. border in 1965 with the commencement of the Border Industrialization Program. After touring Asia’s export processing zone, Mexico’s minister of industry and commerce...

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5. Are the Maquilas Sweatshops?

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pp. 90-122

Proponents of NAFTA argued that the growing maquila industry in Mexico would help the country industrialize by providing jobs for thousands of Mexicans.1 They believed that foreign direct investment by multinationals in the free trade zones would increase...

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6. Liberation or Exploitation of Women Workers?

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pp. 123-171

As globalization spreads and connects developed and developing countries, the winners and losers are easy to identify. Free trade agreements have created zonas libres, or free trade zones, and a new production model—that of mobile manufacturing. The free movement...

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7. Fancy Factories and Dilapidated Dwellings

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pp. 172-196

The daily lives of the Mexican women who work in the U.S. factories are at best grueling and at worst humiliating. The two radically different realities they face every day reflects the integration of the best and worst each country has to offer. The women work in fancy...

Appendix 1. Maquilas in Nogales, Sonora, 2004

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pp. 197-200

Appendix 2. Survey of Maquila Workers

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pp. 201-202


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pp. 203-208


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p. 209


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pp. 211-223


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pp. 225-235

E-ISBN-13: 9780292739147
E-ISBN-10: 0292739141
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292739130
Print-ISBN-10: 0292739133

Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 808382012
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Mexican Women in American Factories

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Offshore assembly industry -- Mexico.
  • Women offshore assembly industry workers -- Mexico.
  • Corporations, Foreign -- Mexico.
  • Manufacturing industries -- United States -- Employees.
  • International business enterprises -- United States -- Employees.
  • Mexican-American Border Region -- Economic conditions.
  • Mexican-American Border Region -- Social conditions.
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