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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Glaring invisibility: dressing the body of the female cleaner
Author:Naidu, Maheshvari
Periodical:Anthropology Southern Africa (ISSN 0258-0144)
Geographic term:South Africa
women workers
social status
Abstract:This paper explores how the uniform of a group of black female cleaners at the University of KwaZulu Natal (South Africa) appears to be more than an abstract object framed by the practical exegetics of work. The uniform is seen as acting as a material exercise of discretionary and disciplinary power of inscription, and, as the paper shows, emerges as a mode by which the cleaners are homogenously objectified and plastically turned into 'subjects'. The paper also shows that while the single-layered cleaners' uniform can be seen as disciplining the body and stripping down the complex multi-layers of their personality and attempting to naturalize their status as cleaners, the women's narratives reveal their attempts to destabilize this conscription, if only outside the spatial and organizational domain of the work space. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]