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From Despair to Resistance: Maya Workers in the Maquilas of Guatemala



Based on ethnographic research among industrial workers in the export processing plants of highland Guatemala, this article explores the meanings given to the high incidence of labor turnover. The sample is composed of mostly young workers between the ages of 16 and 25, the age of the majority of maquila workers. The study shows that turnover exemplifies worker agency, specifically in resistance to oppressive forms of production in global capitalism. Global processes in this study are illustrated through the eyes and words of local participants.