Jessie Luna published “The chain of exploitation: intersectional inequalities, capital accumulation, and resistance in Burkina Faso’s cotton sector” in The Journal of Peasant Studies this September. Luna joined CSU’s Department of Sociology in Fall 2018 and specializes in environmental inequality, race, food and agriculture, development, and cultural sociology. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado-Boulder, M.A. from the Graduate Institute in Geneva, and B.A. from the University of Southern California.
This paper examines how intersectional inequalities can facilitate the extraction of surplus value from agriculture. Through an ethnographic case study of the Burkina Faso cotton sector, Luna describes a ‘chain of exploitation’ wherein actors pass economic pressures on to less-powerful actors. People resist their own exploitation, yet justify exploiting others through discourses about intersectional inequalities – overlapping axes of social difference including class, gender, rural/urban status, and education level. Luna thus argues that intersectional social inequalities – exacerbated by economic pressures – can: (1) justify and thus facilitate the transfer of exploitation, and (2) fragment resistance efforts.