Workshop 2




  • Hélène Guétat-Bernard

Sociologist (French Institute of Pondicherry, Head of Social Sciences Department, Puducherry)

Invited tutors:

  • Aruna

Sociologist (Center of Women’s studies, Pondicherry University, Puducherry)

  • Hervé Breton

Science of education (University of Tours, Tours, France)

  • Lapeyre Nathalie

Sociologist (CERTOP Research Unit, Toulouse University, Toulouse, France)

  • Nalini Ranganathan

Social work (Head of Department of Social Work, Pondicherry University, Puducherry)

  • Venkatasubramanian G.

Sociologist (French Institute of Pondicherry, Puducherry)

With video intervention of

  • Isabelle Guérin, Socio-economic, IRD (CESSMA Research Unit), Paris, France
  • Kalpana Karunakaran, Sociology, IIT Madras, Chennai


Workshop 2 on “gender and labour” proposes a conceptual as well as a methodological reflection, with half a day of fieldwork. It is based on the contributions of sociology of labour, development studies and socio-economics and mobilises Indian and French theoretical works and examples taken in these two contexts of India and France.

The workshop begins with an analysis of the major debates between India and France led by the sociology of gender within the discipline of sociology of work. We will explore how gender studies have crossed all the fields of the sociology of work: starting from a redefinition of work to deconstruct the dichotomy of productive and reproductive work, the sexual division of labour, the analysis of employment systems and professional hierarchies. From the 1990s, with the consequences of globalisation, new debates appear: regulation of the labour market and evolution of capitalism, new productive models and the place of women, feminisation of work, globalised care professions, etc.

The renewal of the definition of work and its analysis allowed by a gender approach is based on the theoretical challenge of the articulation between the sociology of work and family (Galerand and Kergoat, 2014). Therefore, the objective is to understand the link between analysis of production and gender relations within families (Hirata and Kergoat 2005), but also, in the business and in relation to the state. One of the issues is to understand how the labour market mechanisms are gendered and conversely how the labour market engages gender (cit. ibid).

French materialist feminist sociology (Delphy 1970; Guillaumin 1978) has redefined the concept of work and exploitation. On the one hand, the theorisation of social relations of sex as relations of production and exploitation allowing for the conceptualising domestic work as “exploited labour”. On the other hand, the epistemological and methodological proposal from the “point of view” has made it possible to theorise the sex of the person in a work situation, whether salaried or self-employed, which has made it possible to think of the intersection of different power relations (consubstantiality).

The concept of the “sexual division of labour” makes it possible to designate as labour all the human production activities of living in society (Hirata and Zarifian 2000). This broad definition of work allows the socio-economist to think about the links between all forms of work, covering different forms of exchange.

The intersection of the analysis of gender and labour allows for thinking of work not only as relations of exploitation but also of emancipation. The experience at work opens the questions of self-respect, production of one’s experience, and a collective dimension of solidarity and emancipation. It is these dimensions that the social and solidarity economy questions in a feminist approach.

Thus, we will discuss between France and India how social and economic organisations think about the place of women and men at work, what are the gender divisions at work, how are job systems organised to understand how work is an effective way to understand gender relations?

Different themes will be discussed: globalisation and the recent history of capitalism with its effects on the place of women and men at work, remuneration / discrimination / working conditions, feminisation / stereotypes / representation of diversity, informality / agricultural activities and agroecology / care activities, social protection / public policy, work experience / empowerment.

Main Objectives of the workshop

  • To make known and understood feminist approaches of labour;
  • To understand the situation of women’s work in a globalised Indian economy;
  • To analyse the articulations between capitalism and patriarchy under contextualised conditions (rural/urban, formal/informal sector, migrations…);
  • To compare France/India on feminisation of professions and equality policy;

To help the students take into account gender issues in their thesis.


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