Bioethics Blogs

In the Journals, June 2015 – Part I by Elizabeth Lewis

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Deaf Bodies and Corporate Bodies: New Regimes of Value in Bangalore’s Business Process Outsourcing Sector
Michele Friedner

This article ethnographically analyses how groups (and not just individuals) are produced in business process outsourcing (BPO) workplaces. In order to mitigate an unstable labour pool, corporations hire deaf workers to perform identical BPO work regardless of their qualifications and backgrounds. These hiring practices serve to cement existing relationships and produce deaf workers as a group marked only by deafness. This article explores how engaging in the same work articulates with deaf young adults’ ‘sameness work’ to produce ambivalent deaf groups. It also analyses the everyday practices of deaf employees, their relationships with their normal co-workers who ‘love’ them, and the ways that value is reconfigured in the workplace through the existence of disabled workers. This article argues that in contrast to dominant representations of disabled people as unemployable, the (re)inscription of deafness as a source of multiple forms of value begs for a broader analysis of the role of disability in late capitalism.

Bodily Rights and Collective Claims: The Work of Legal Activists in Interpreting Reproductive and Maternal Rights in India
Carolyn Heitmeyer and Maya Unnithan

This article engages with anthropological approaches to the study of global human rights discourses around reproductive and maternal health in India. Whether couched in the language of human rights or of other social justice frameworks, different forms of claims-making in India exist in tandem and correspond to particular traditions of activism and struggle. Universal reproductive rights language remains a discourse aimed at the state in India, where the primary purpose is to demand greater accountability in the domain of policy and governance.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.