Women, the ‘ongoing Process of Worldwide Primitive Accumulation’ and Female Plantation Workers of Sri Lanka: A Marxist Feminist Analysis
Prajna Seneviratne

Contemporary feminist theorists while drawing upon original Marxian propositions, differ from the Marxist view of seeing primitive accumulation as preceding capitalist accumulation. Rather they view primitive accumulation as an ‘ongoing’ process simultaneous with capital accumulation, and more importantly place ‘women’ at the centre of this worldwide process of expropriation and deprivation of power. In this paper, I attempt to read my ethnographic experiences with female plantation workers of a third world/post colonial location – Sri Lanka; in the light of this alternative theoretical claim - stemming from a Marxist analysis yet with a feminist turn. The paper is woven around the birth of Madumani’s daughter, a baby girl born to an ‘estate mother’ during my stay at the estate and my many close interactions with the young mother and daughter and their many female relatives all of whom are working as laborers in the estate. Their stories as I narrate here shed light on the manner in which women, especially proletarian women of the third world, are placed at the center of an ‘ongoing process of worldwide primitive accumulation’- as argued by Marxist Feminist writers- and robbed not only of their labour but also of their bodies, their knowledge and their skills; struggling to make a living in these third world plantation estates.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijgws.v5n1a8