Global Structural Exploitation: Towards an Intersectional Definition


  • Maeve McKeown



Exploitation, feminism, global justice, Iris Marion Young, Maria Mies, Marxism


If Third World women form ‘the bedrock of a certain kind of global exploitation of labour,’ as Chandra Mohanty argues, how can our theoretical definitions of exploitation account for this? This paper argues that liberal theories of exploitation are insufficiently structural and that Marxian accounts are structural but are insufficiently intersectional. What we need is a structural and intersectional definition of exploitation in order to correctly identify global structural exploitation. Drawing on feminist, critical race/post-colonial and post-Fordist critiques of the Marxist definition and the intersectional accounts of Maria Mies and Iris Marion Young, this paper offers the following definition of structural exploitation: structural exploitation refers to the forced transfer of the productive powers of groups positioned as socially inferior to the advantage of groups positioned as socially superior. Global structural exploitation is a form of global injustice because it is a form of oppression.