Harry Potter's Magic
and the Market: What are Youth Learning about Gender, Race, and Class?
At a time when the New York Times has had to make a separate children's
best-seller list because the top-selling novel series is a magical fantasy,
magic has made the news in more ways than one. Appearing within historical,
economic, and political descriptions of a contemporary society supposedly
not subject to fine-tuning or top-down management or invisible manipulation
by institutional or human hands, magic has come to signify a medium of
liberalization guiding the new economic order, an ideological centerpiece
initiatives, a means of demeaning the public sector, and a tool of imperialism.
Magic means, for example, that the president can base foreign policy on
a science fiction of a possible future attack with invisible weapons,
suddenly transformed into a very real resource war. It has also justified,
for example, gutting public schools because "failing" schools
will be "fixed" if submitted to competitive magical market forces
(the ideological mechanism for transferring sums of public money into
private hands). With the magical hand of the market, as New York Times
foreign correspondent Thomas Friedman (1999) has described it, Taco
Bell can appear suddenly in the Qatar desert "like a huge blot on
the horizon" (221) to the joy and celebration of a ravenous public
that just wants to realize its fantasies "with all the toppings"
(234). As media critic Robert McChesney (1999) has remarked, "The
mythology of the free market […] submits that governments are inefficient
institutions that should be limited so as not to hurt the magic of the
natural 'laissez-faire' market" (13).
even before the avalanche of corporate criminal allegations, with capital
vying for deregulation, increased flexibility, the end of labor protections,
and the privatization of securities, this magic of the market led to job
losses, cuts in benefits, educational budget crunching, healthcare streamlining,
a growing disparity between rich and poor, as well as a general loss of
confidence that public institutions can offer basic protections. The existent
ideology that the market offers magical remedies to many people's experiences
of lost control is bolstered by a wide range of cultural messages, particularly
in advertising, which, like consumption as a whole, is governed, as Jean
Baudrillard (1998) once recognized, "by a form of magical thinking;
daily life is governed by a mentality based on miraculous thinking, a
primitive mentality, in so far as that has been defined as being based
on a belief in the omnipotence of thoughts….[T]he blessings of consumption
[…] are experienced as a miracle" (31). Erasing its limits
and transcending its materiality, the all-powerful subject of consumption
sees the world as a whole constructed as a replica and a playing field
of its unbounded desire. Indicating an absolute freedom from oversight,
public regulation, or institutional intervention, the ideology of the
market provides the fantasy that the subject masters the world through
the magic of his/her own entrepreneurial willfulness and craftiness.
paper focuses on the production of such magical thinking in the Harry
Potter book series for kids. The Harry Potter series tells the story of
Harry Potter who, at the age of one, is orphaned when Lord Voldemort,
the evil which Must-Not-Be-Named, kills his parents. Harry is brought
up by his mother's Muggle (or, non-wizard) huffy sister and her frequently-fuming,
bombastic husband who, despite the obvious wealth of Harry's parents,
receive neither private payments nor public assistance for the baby Harry's
He is kept in the closet under the stairs, deprived of birthday presents,
condemned to the mediocrity of the working-class suburbs of Surrey (where
J.K. Rowling is also from), and forced to bear the abuse of his spoiled,
whiney, snotty-nosed, overfed cousin Dudley. When he is about to turn
eleven, his aunt and uncle provide a smelly hand-me-down grey outfit for
him to wear as he enters public school, whereas Dudley has the fortune
of wearing new orange knickerbockers and a maroon tailcoat to his private
school. Harry learns he is a wizard when Hogwarts' School for Witches
and Wizards sends an emissary, Hagrid the games keeper, to fetch him so
that he can be schooled in wizardry and magic.
books, I argue, teach that magic can rescue us from hardships, misfortunes,
cosmic threats, child abuse, or even prohibitions on candy and sweet drinks,
and that magic can also rescue us from the aesthetic squalor which
is all that is offered by public institutions. Like capital, Harry and
his two cohort-friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger can escape the
laws, public institutions, authority, and surveillance through a magical
promise as they learn that the laws, public institutions, authority, and
surveillance can only function as obstacles on the path to ultimate freedom.
As Joan Acocella (2000) of The New Yorker indicates, "The subject
of the Harry Potter series is power, an important matter for children,
since they have so little of it. How does one acquire power?" (77). The
fantasy that the novels offer is that kids can become magical like capital
itself, that they can transport themselves just as capital does to wondrous
dreamlands inaccessible to those stuck in the materiality of history,
and that school can and should teach them how.
as Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, has become the richest
novelist in history selling the dream of magic2—along
with her agent, her publishers, and her publishers' stockholders (Smith,
2001: 206), the magical market itself has been denying kids the hope of
such power. As critical education theorist Henry Giroux (2000) has remarked:
Childhood at the end of the twentieth
century has […] simply been transformed
into a market strategy and a fashion aesthetic used to expand the
consumer-based needs of privileged adults who live within a market culture
that has little concern for ethical considerations, noncommercial spaces,
or public responsibilities […]. [T]he notion of childhood innocence
serves as a historical and
social referent for [adult society's] waning ability
to offer children the social, cultural, and economic opportunities and
resources they need to both survive and prosper in this society […].
The deteriorating state of America's
children can be seen in the increased number
of children living in poverty—20.5 percent of all children; the large
number of children without affordable housing—more than 6.8 million;
as well as the large number
of American children who lack health insurance…the
United States ranks in the lower half of the Western, industrialized
countries in providing family
support services. (18-22)
media industry's increasing consolidation throughout the 1990's, and especially
after the 1996 Telecommunications Act, has been accompanied by large-scale
deregulation and public de-funding. Pro-corporate, anti-family, globalization
policies like the 1996 abolishment of the AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent
Children), the development of welfare-to-work programs, cuts in food stamps,
and cuts in social security income to the elderly and disabled have occurred
alongside increased numbers of children living in extreme poverty in the
U.S. and around the world (Mickelson, 2000: 24). As Heather Wokusch (2002)
of the Common Dreams News Center summarizes, "Over 11 million American
children live in poverty, 9.2 million have no health insurance, and 3.6
million suffer "worst-case" housing needs. While the U.S. is the world
leader in defense expenditures, it ranks only 17th in efforts to lift
children out of poverty; while it is number one in health technology,
it ranks 23rd in infant mortality." Cuts in public services have also
formed part of structural adjustment programs in poorer countries: "According
to UNICEF, in 1995 there were eight million abandoned children on the
streets of Latin America. According to Human Rights Watch, in 1993 death
squads linked to the police murdered six children a day in Colombia, four
a day in Brazil" (Galeano, 2000: 18). With the curtailment of state-instituted
equity measures and social programs in the former Eastern Block countries
and the Soviet Union, there has been a growth in the numbers of homeless
kids, and as corporations search internationally for cheap labor niches,
child labor is on the rise (Klees, Rizzini and Dewees, 2000: 92). "Children,
now part of the productivity process, are treated as [short-run] economic
goods rather than society's future" (Wright, as cited in Klees, Rizzini
and Dewees, 2000: 92).3
Angela McRobbie (2001) has observed, recent years have seen "a shift
of responsibility for young people from the state back to the privatized
sphere of the family […]. Benefit changes, and the removal of access to
housing subsidies, have pushed disadvantaged young people if not onto
the streets then noticeably into poverty" (364). Most recently, the Bush
administration has proposed massive cuts in social services that affect
children. Aside from considerable reductions in education spending at
both state and federal levels and the large-scale bursts in deficit spending
which banks against the earnings of the next generation, the new budget
contains: "$60.9 million cut from childcare, meaning access cut for 38,000
kids; $29 million cut from after-school programs; $13 million cut from
programs that help abused and neglected children; $3 million cut from
children's mental health funding; $42 million cut from substance abuse
treatment programs" (Cockburn, 2003: 9). This domestic attack on kids
has provided an ideological impetus for the dehumanization of other nations'
citizens leading to militarization and war, as, for example, then Secretary
of State Madeleine Albright could announce on the 12 May 1996 program
60 Minutes that the half a million children under the age of five
killed under U.S.-enforced sanctions on Iraq (according to UNICEF, 1999)
were worth the price, even as the sanctions were failing their stated
intentions of regime change. With each month's worth of military spending
equaling the amount it would take to stop kids' hunger worldwide for a
year (Wokusch, 2002), the U.S. has gone to war against Iraq—a country
of which 40 percent of the population is under the age of fourteen.
In the last twelve years, as
rates of youth delinquency are worsening and childhood poverty growing,
children have been targeted by media corporations as the fastest growing
consumer market. Scholastic, which bought the rights to distribution of
the Harry Potter book series in the States for $100,000, has aggressively
worked to build a youth market while projecting a noble image of their
educational projects. Indeed, remarking how niche-building among youth
creates brand loyalty for life, vice president Mark Evans (1996) has said,
"More and more companies see education marketing as the most compelling,
memorable and cost-effective way to build share of mind and market into
the 21st century" (as cited in Molnar, 1996: 30-31); and
certainly AOL/Time-Warner, the promoters of the films, would agree. Even
before its merger with the largest internet provider in the world, AOL/Time
Warner, one of the four combined entertainment and defense companies composing
what media critic Mark Crispin Miller (1997) has identified as "a
national entertainment state" (4), was the largest media company
in the world—projecting revenue in 1997 at $25 billion, owning movie studios,
theme parks, retail stores, a TV network, and its own news channel, CNN.
Book publishing is no stranger to media conglomerates like Time Warner.
As profit targets among major commercial publishers and editorial salaries
have risen, and public funding for schools and libraries has been radically
cut, virtual distribution monopolies are granted to large retail outlets
like Barnes and Noble and Borders. Controlling 50 percent of all national
sales, such retail outlets have been able to dictate much book content
(Schiffrin, 1997: 80).4
have lauded the Harry Potter books for their magical allure, celebrating
the way fantasy and imagination, along with role-model heroes, are integral
to children's intellectual and moral development. "In the Harry Potter
books," Roni Natov (2002) observes, "magic calls attention to the awe
and wonder of ordinary life. Rowling ingeniously enhances and amplifies
the vitality of ordinary objects" (219). The fact that the books, as tales
of magic, target a readership of children has meant, for some, that the
texts are innocent. The popular success of the novels among children "prove"
their quality because, Amanda Cockrell (2002) maintains, "children do,
in the lump, tend to know what is good" (17); as though children's tastes
and experiences were pure and untouched, not affected by the media, class
position, ideology, or the corporate desire to capture them as market-share.
address children, the novels often use bizarre situations and characters.
Some of these characters say things which readers are clearly not supposed
to take seriously, and this tone of friendly humor and cute irony often
serves to blur and seemingly undercut any firm ideological content within
characters' speech or the novels' narrative form, at least on the surface.
For example, the character of Gilderoy Lockhart, the new Defense against
the Dark Arts teacher, first appears at the bookstore Flourish and Blotts
doing a book-signing and posing for newspaper pictures. He is the butt
of continued ridicule throughout Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
(1999) because of his excessive pomposity and vanity: "Gilderoy Lockhart
came slowly into view, seated at a table surrounded by large pictures
of his own face, all winking and flashing dazzlingly white teeth at the
crowd" (59). However, the possibility of reading in the book an ironic
criticism of Lockhart collapses not only because "Lockhart's appearance
prefigures the crowds that have grown around Rowling's [book-signings]"
(Teare, 2002: 335), but also because the series gives no alternative to
mass production, commercialization, celebrity, insignificance, and self-promotion
as the content-aim of books. Elizabeth Teare (2002) claims that through
Harry himself, "Rowling builds into her novels the possibility of resistance
to celebrity book culture" (336). Yet, Teare's analysis does not take
into account two aspects of celebrity book culture in the Harry Potter
books that close down such possibilities of resistance: 1) Harry has not
written a book, so Teare's position cannot account for the series' attitude
towards the commercial appropriation of specifically intellectual content;
and, 2) it is very difficult to think of Harry Potter the character as
working against celebrity appeal or representing a resistance to it even
inside the novels when he appears on the cover of mainstream and entertainment
magazines, on TV and the movie screen, and has a name which is most likely
recognizable everywhere in the world. Lockhart feeds the ideology of celebrity
and the commercialization of educational material more strongly because
the irony which acts through his character makes the narration appear
critical and disapproving of his self-celebration but yet his career seems
the inevitable path for an author, particularly of books for school-age
Magic and the Market
political economy of the media affects the way meanings are produced and
provides an overall understanding of social options and relations which,
like the Harry Potter series, erases the rational sensibility of social
supports, including public education, in favor of an irrational faith
in the magic of the market. The Harry Potter series does not only advertise
brand names for its corporate sponsors; nor does it simply communicate
consumer ideologies, though it performs both of these functions. Additionally,
however, and most importantly, the Harry Potter series also clears the
ground for private corporate management of the public
as well as promoting an acceptance of the growth of private over public
power which is marshalling in new markets and militarisms around the world.
The prevailing common sense that the market magically heals has aided
to create an atmosphere where it has become logical for the president
to claim illogically that increased national investments in testing will
improve schools and make them competitive even while class periods and
summer school are being cut; music, art, physical education, and social
studies are reduced as the curriculum turns towards test preparation;
richer schools are being turned into banks which loan money at interest
to poorer schools; private educational companies are allowed to sue public
schools for "unfair competition" under global management agreements like
the FTAA; school closings are leading to the subcontracting of students
to private tutors; teachers are removed from classrooms due to budgetary
constraints; supplies, library books, and technologies are disinvested.
Bush's educational reforms reflect a popular sense that schools need to
gear themselves to skills and job training, and that the knowledge gained
through such schools should be quantifiable and testable. As Kenneth J.
Saltman (2000) has compellingly argued, defining the goal of education
in market terms—efficiency, competition, accountability, privatization,
and choice—"increases bureaucracy, increases costs, increases the potential
for abuse and corruption, decreases public oversight, and decreases the
stability and reliability of high quality services" (1) while standardizing
racism and segregation and replacing the educational purposes of democracy,
citizenry, and social value with the goals of preparing a globally competitive
place of social supports, the Bush administration has towed the line of
school competition through high-stakes testing, emphasizing, as Stephen
Metcalf (2002) of The Nation has indicated, "minimal competence
along a narrow range of skills, with an eye toward satisfying the low
end of the labor market" (2). On the one hand, the conservative call for
testing upholds censure of other remedies, with the administration advocating
private parental choice—either through vouchers or some other initiative—which
would allow students to use public funds for transfers to private or faith-based
schools when public schools do not make the grade: "testing makes sense
as a lone solution to school failure because, they [its conservative enthusiasts]
insist, adequate resources are already in place, and only the threat of
exposure and censure is necessary for schools to succeed […]. Liberal
faddishness, not chronic underfunding of poorer schools or child poverty
itself, is blamed for underachievement" (Metcalf, 2002: 3).
an under-funded federal mandate, the growth in high-stakes testing could
mean huge profits—anywhere from $2.7 billion to 7 billion, according to
the National Association of State Boards of Education (2002)—for
testing and textbook companies. Among these companies sits predominantly
McGraw-Hill, whose relationship with the Bush family goes back three generations
and, according to The Nation, is comparable to the Bush's
entanglements with oil and energy firms, including Enron. His long-time
political associate Harold McGraw III has advised Dubya to adopt phonics-based
reading practices by citing 'scientific studies' with faulty methods and
with results distorted and falsified in reports to the public. Phonics-based
like high-stakes testing, demands great textbook support while supplying
little evidence for effectiveness in ending illiteracy. In other words,
the "education president" is enhancing a low-end service-sector workforce
for the benefit of high-end corporate cronies. With capital's deterministic
access to lobbying, power, and decision, this market is far from magical.
As professor of the Dark Arts, Quirrell describes wizardry in Harry
Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1997), "There is no good and
evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it…" (291).
so far different than the Bush ideal, the running of Hogwarts is based
on competition, where the four different houses vie for points awarded
for good behavior and subtracted punitively. In the school competition,
even the teachers take sides. The ritualized competition over points extends
into sports and classroom lessons where students succeed and win points
and status when they can best replicate the incantations of their masters.
Developed as a system of cliques which often behave quite aggressively
towards each other even to the point of injury (in the same vein as in
Columbine High), the competition compels a consumer society which comprises
status in the wizarding world, from who has the fastest and most agile
broomstick, the newest on the market, to whose family can afford the sleekest
dress robe. At the formative core of wizard identity is the giant wizard
shopping mall—Diagon Alley—with its snowy white bank filled with golden
coins in individualized underground chambers and its colorful arrangements
of desirable oddities on display, from bat guts to eel eyes.
to the point system, quizzes and exams at Hogwarts question the rote memorization
of facts, for example, about new products like "batty old wizards
who'd invented self-stirring cauldrons" (Harry Potter and the
Sorcerer's Stone, 1997: 263), where points are awarded for correct
answers like "my secret ambition is to rid the world of evil and
market my own range of hair-care potions" (Harry Potter and the
Chamber of Secrets, 1999: 100). In the Harry Potter series, teaching
is mostly made effective through fear, intimidation, and detention—''[H]ard
work and pain are the best teachers if you ask me" (Harry Potter and
the Sorcerer's Stone, 1997: 248), confesses Filch the caretaker,
while leading Harry into the Forbidden Forest for a night of hard and
horror-filled detention labor which Malfoy calls "servant stuff" (250)
and Hagrid sums up as "useful." Meanwhile, tests and exams boost the competition
between students. The knowledge that they acquire through such classes
often ends up being instrumental in small efficient task work, immediately
useful to them for example in their experiences and adventures, particularly
for fighting evil, as when Hermione is able to rescue Harry and his friend
Ron from the wriggling and flailing Devil's Snare because she remembered
having learned in Herbology class that Devil's Snare liked the dark and
damp and so could be defeated with fire (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's
Stone, 1997: 278).
that the irrationality (like corporatism) in capitalism fed the rise of
fascism, Frankfurt School sociologists Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno
(1991) were particularly concerned that the legacy of the Enlightenment
did not overcome irrational practices like magic, but rather incorporated
them. Describing capitalism's domination over nature where market fetishism
and the ritualizing of production lead to fascism, Horkheimer and Adorno
(1991) observed, as early as the forties, the market's parasitic relations
to the irrational linked, in turn, to childhood regressions:
The purpose of the fascist formula,
the ritual discipline, the uniforms, and
the whole apparatus, which is at first sight irrational, is to allow
mimetic behavior. The carefully
thought out symbols…the skulls and disguises,
the barbaric drum beats, the monotonous repetition of words and
gestures, are simply the organized imitation of magic practices […].
Fascism is […] totalitarian
in that it seeks to make the rebellion of suppressed
nature against domination directly useful to domination. (184-185)
clearly modeled on exclusive British boarding schools like Eton, Hogwarts—run
by the headmaster Albus Dumbledore, whom David Ansen (2001) of Newsweek
recognized as a "CEO" (70)—operates under the jurisdiction of the
Ministry of Magic, the governing body of wizardry which, likened to a
board of trustees, can enforce mandates on issues ranging from faculty
employment to the curriculum, school security, sporting events, and the
kinds of mythic beasts that are kept on the school grounds. Contingently,
starting from the school, wizard governance seeps out into other aspects
of the life of magic—setting the law, overseeing the bank, controlling
trade, maintaining prisons—implying that wizard governance brings the
entire witching world under the magic of corporate management:
A crowd of wizards, tightly packed
and moving together with wands pointing straight upward, was marching
slowly across the field. Harry squinted at them […]. High above them,
floating along in midair, four struggling figures were being contorted
into grotesque shapes […]. Then he realized that their heads were hooded
and their faces masked. (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,
Projecting green-lighted skulls and
dark shadows while chanting, the Ministry, dressed in hoods, is ritualistically
torturing a family of Mudbloods—half-wizard/half-Muggle.
there is an explicit critique of some of the more extreme racist elements
among the wizard elites called the Death Eaters ("That's sick," Ron muttered
[…]" (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2000: 120).), many of
its features are borrowed into the mainstream of magic. For example, even
as the books seem to ridicule these practices or condemn them as rituals
of the dark forces, Harry's own privileged wizard birth justifies a hierarchical
order of naturalized talent based in blood and heredity, radically fraying
the apparent critique of white supremacist violence and also making him
seem entitled to and worthy of the mountains of gold coins his
parents left him in the underground chambers of Gringotts' Bank. At the
age of one, Harry becomes famous among wizards for vanquishing Voldemort,
the lord of the dark forces, when Voldemort murdered his parents, and
since then, his extraordinary precocity in sports, academics, magical
know-how, and heroic battles against evil have proven the worth of his
birthright and class entitlement. As well, Harry's dexterous feats of
magic (e.g., when he is able to outsmart Voldemort again and again; when
he excels in Quidditch—the wizard ballgame played on broomsticks—and scores
winning points for his team; when he figures his way through murderous
chess games, chases down flying keys, defeats a dragon, vanquishes a giant
spider, or sneaks by a fire-breathing three-headed dog to recapture the
philosopher's stone and its promise of immortality) all confirm Harry's
inbred talent inherited in his bloodline: "[Voldemort] didn't realize,"
the headmaster Dumbledore informs Harry, "that love as powerful as your
mother's for you leaves its own mark" (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's
Stone, 1997: 299), and in fact, the ghosts of his parents offer Harry
protections and often allow his spells greater success as he crushes the
enemy (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2000: 667), and Harry's
father's excellence as a Quidditch player guarantees the son's stardom.
Karin Westman (2002) has noted, "[T]he wizarding world struggles to negotiate
a very contemporary problem […]: the legacy of a racial and class caste
system that, though not entirely stable, is still looked upon by a minority
of powerful individuals as the means to continued power and control" (306-307).
Those not reaching the stature of heroism often assume the criminal role
of servants or assistants, like the murderer Peter Pettigrew, appearing
degenerate like the Nazi stereotype of a Jew, "something of the rat linger[ing]
around his pointed nose and his very small, watery eyes" (Harry Potter
and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 1999: 366), "weak" and "talentless"
(Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 1999: 369) with "thin
colorless hair" and a "shrunken appearance" (Harry Potter and the Prisoner
of Azkaban, 1999: 366).
Even as wizard governance takes
on a quasi-fascist structure, corporate culture takes over the world of
magic as a whole. For example, in the fourth book, Percy Weasley, a recent
graduate of Hogwarts, gets a job in the Ministry. His tasks include researching
statistics on cauldron thickness because manufacturers have been unfairly
cutting costs by exporting untested products. "We're trying to standardize
cauldron thickness," explains Percy. "Some of these foreign imports are
just a shade too thin—leakages have been increasing at a rate of almost
three percent a year […]. Unless some sort of international law is imposed
we might find the market flooded with flimsy, shallow-bottomed products
that seriously endanger…" (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,
2000: 56). The other kids proceed to ridicule Percy, trivializing his
work and suggesting that he is boring, marginal, pompous, and useless.
"Ministry o' Magic messin' things up as usual" (Harry Potter and the
Sorcerer's Stone, 1997: 64), Hagrid informs Harry. To Percy's critics,
the absurd work of regulation and public administration here seems too
mired in an excessive materialism.
assault on any attempt to impose rules or restrictions on the use of magic
for good business purposes translates into labor policy as well. The Ministry
refuses to get involved in assuring labor fairness because the house-elves,
for example, like to be treated as slaves, work without wages or
vacations, wear cheap old sacks instead of clothes, and be subjected to
extreme subservience, obedience, and punishment for minor infractions.
Harry's friend Herminone's pathetic attempts to create a political movement
to free the house-elves called "The House-Elf Liberation Front" only lead
to contemptuous mockery. House-elf Winky herself counters, "Winky is properly
ashamed of being freed!” (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,
2000: 379). Hermione's political organizing in favor of labor protections
is translated into an unwarranted act seeking to impose superfluous laws
threatening the rights of slaves to self-determination. Slavery, Hermione
what they want after all.
point is not only that political protest is made to seem irritating, child's-play,
and against the interests of those for whom it advocates. After all, even
if the other characters tease Hermione for her efforts on behalf of the
house-elves, still remaining is the language of rights and freedom in
which she frames the issue, including freedom of speech (Harry Potter
and the Goblet of Fire, 2000: 378), as well as Dumbledore's benevolent
approval. The narrative voice itself is not necessarily confirming the
characters' tease. The trivializing of Hermione's initiatives on behalf
of labor, however, does perform two quite serious functions: 1) it makes
political resistance seem ineffectual and unnecessary, because Hermione's
organization is not what gives Dobby his freedom; its success is contingent
on the backing of the management, as well as on a certain faith in the
naturalized working of justice, rather than on a struggle against oppression;
and 2) the only solution which the novels present for the house-elves
is a type of patronizing service-oriented wage-labor which does not appear
to improve significantly their status or options. "'But most wizards doesn't
want a house-elf who wants paying, miss,'" Dobby tells Harry, Ron, and
Hermione. '''That's not the point of a house-elf,' they says, and they
slammed the door in Dobby's face! Dobby likes work, but he wants to wear
clothes and he wants to be paid […]. And so Dobby is a free elf, sir,
and Dobby gets a Galleon a week and one day off a month! […]. Dobby likes
freedom, miss, but he isn't wanting too much, miss, he likes work better'"
(Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2000: 378-9). The
"self-determination" offered in corporate waged work parallels
the "self-determination" of slavery but yet is defined as freedom.
with Voldemort's return in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
(2003), the possibility of political organization and opposition
forms. There are three different trajectories through which politics are
imagined. Yet, as the inept Ministry seems to have again been led astray
by the influence of power brokers allied with the Dark Forces, all of
these trajectories perform the identical role of defining politics as
a defense of private interests from ineffectual, misdirected public manipulations.
The three trajectories of possible resistance perform the identical role:
1) The Order is originally fashioned through housekeeping rituals, where
Mrs. Weasley ushers the kids through a series of cleanliness and cooking
details to make the headquarters livable. Other than this, it is not really
clear what the operations of the Order entail, how its resistance is being
implemented, nor how its forces—a group of Harry's closest friends and
their families, all bound by affiliation, school ties, and kinship—are
to arrange recruitment, actions, alliances, planning, command, and defiance
against both Voldemort's Dark Forces and their minions in the Ministry.
Here, politics resembles a private family. 2) Ron's brothers, the twins
Fred and George, stage some acts of resistance and diversions against
the Ministry's new stringent policies by setting off, at school, demonstrations
of the magical jokes they later plan to sell. After leaving school, the
two wizard boys plan to start their own joke shop business, at first raising
the capital for this venture through their own initiative in games, blackmail,
and gambling. Finally bankrolled with Harry's winnings from the Triwizard
Tournament, the twins start to practice their commerce in the school,
using first-year students as experimental guinea pigs for new untested
products, plastering the bulletin boards with advertisements, using the
hallways for spectacular displays, and turning students into clients.
When Harry needs for the attention of Professor Umbridge—Dumbledore's
temporary replacement—to be diverted, the twins turn school corridors
into swamps or set off fireworks that take on the shape of magical creatures,
gaining in energy as they blast noisily through the classrooms, down the
stairs, along the grounds. Here, politics resembles a private business.
3) With the administrative backing of Hermione, Harry starts to give secret
lessons in Defense against the Dark Arts. The Ministry has forbidden spells
in the course, trying to cover up the evidence and apprehension of Voldemort's
return, so Harry sets up a secret student society. This organization is
kept even more under cover after Umbridge (coining for herself the title
"High Inquisitor of Hogwarts") forbids, in the name of the Ministry, any
meetings among students unless officially approved because "she's got
some…some mad idea that Dumbledore could use the students in the school
as a kind of private army. She thinks he'd mobilize us against the Ministry"
(Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 2003: 344). Dumbledore
later accepts this charge, claiming he wanted "[m]erely to see whether
they would be interested in joining me" (Harry Potter and the Order
of the Phoenix, 2003: 618). Here, politics resembles a private
3.8 The demeaning of politics as a privatized defense works alongside a more general disparagement of the public sector. Mr. Weasley's work as a low-level bureaucrat in the Ministry's Office for Muggle Protection is seen as excessive, useless, cumbersome, meddlesome, and often wrongheaded, even absurd, while it keeps his family, embarrassingly, in poverty and hand-me-downs. Sarcasm and derision are directed at any of the Ministry's attempts to intervene in business practices except when it comes to discipline and security. It is strictly forbidden, for example, to perform magic in front of Muggles or to put charms on Muggle-made goods in case they end up back in a Muggle home and cause havoc, like when a jinxed teapot threw sugar tongs at an old man and left him hospitalized. However, wizards have various methods for circumventing these rules, from hiding hexed machinery in secret garages, to deprogramming the memories of witnesses, to stupefying the victims of magical tortures, or spreading false rumors in the Muggle press about certain events like mass death curses, for the Muggles' own benefit. Any attempts by the Ministry to put an end to such practices prove ineffectual, down to arrests and raids, which are often hexed or contravened by Experimental Charms or tricks.
as wizard capitalism operates most fruitfully without Percy's product
liability inspections or the Ministry's absurd care for mere Muggles in
trying to uphold, for example, an unenforceable embargo on flying carpet
imports and other silly trade interferences, Harry himself often ventures
outside the Ministry's would-be heavy hand and the school's micromanagement.
Employing cunning and wit, Harry and the other kids at Hogwarts are also
constantly venturing away from wizard laws, ducking out of school when
he's not supposed to, wandering the corridors at night in defiance of
the school code, hiding invisibly behind statues and book stacks when
teachers and supervisors prowl on the lookout, sneaking a suspected murderer
away on a flying hippograph, even outsmarting the prison guards called
Dementors who are invited by the Ministry's Board of Directors for the
purpose of policing and protecting both the school and the nearby village,
magic, capital can maneuver through obstacles that ground production or
expenses that limit consumption and jump over the barriers to human mobility,
transporting and extending the speculating subject while alienating labor
more fully from its territorial stagnancy and its rootedness in material
need. Like magic, capital can do things and go places and have experiences
that are inaccessible to the ordinary human. Like growing up with the
budding magic entrepreneurs Fred and George, growing up with capital means
that "you sort of start thinking anything's possible if you've got
enough nerve" (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,
Harry Potter series composes two different but intersecting ideas about
class. First, class works through a politics of the body where superiority
shines out in exceptional talent and kindness. This perspective is in
line with the returning prince scenario, where the lost character exhibits
the behavior of a prince in order to show that he deserves the title.
The Harry Potter books transform this fairytale by racializing it in plots
about blood and purity. As Farah Mendelsohn (2002) has summarized, "[A]ristocracy
is allied with the country gentry in the care of the inferior; a High
Toryism or modern liberalism where everyone is nice, and tolerant; where
women are in the home and use their magic to speed the cooking and cleaning
[…] and where differences are accepted but we all know who is inferior
to whom and treat them nicely because they are inferior" (170).
Second, class is self-made and self-determined, the product of hard work
and ingenuity. This second formation characterizes Hermione, whose dedication
to her studies is supposed to signify the hope of transcending her low
Muggle birth. She exhibits excellence through effort. Hermione's subjectivity
appears in the accumulation of knowledge through practice, creativity,
dedication, and experience, that is, through personal initiative and nerve.
novels position Hermione as the promise of class transcendence, that is,
of self-construction through service. Hermione's studiousness keeps her
from descending to the status of Moaning Myrtle, also targeted as a Mudblood,
who was caught unaware by the murderous stare of the Basilisk, King of
the Serpents, and therefore remains perpetually as a ghost in the toilet
where she was killed. Hermione learns in her library research that the
Basilisk kills through staring directly at his victim, so she confronts
the snake's gaze through a mirror. Hermione's ability to transcend class
and race through her library learning makes her seem a particularly good
example of a feminism which formulates freedom through self-determination
and focuses on building identity through self-construction and autonomy.
Eliza Dresang (2002), for example, has called "Hermione's propensity to
'wit and learning'" "signs of self-determination" even though she is "initially
acting chiefly as Harry's agent" (227). Linked to the novels' broader
depiction of a type of magic which transcends material obstacles, law,
and history, the feminism read through Hermione's character imagines the
market itself as marking the success of women's liberation, even though,
contradictorily (perhaps), Hermione's labor remains subordinated to Harry's
fact, in today's political climate, women around the world are hardest
hit by market reforms, even though, because of competitive labor markets,
women's labor is ever more marketable because of its cheapened status.
Since 1980, as the number of women participating in the global workforce
women's poverty has increased, reaching 70 percent of the estimated 1
billion poor according to the United Nations (Boutros-Ghali, 1998). As
McRobbie (2001) notes, a feminism defining success in market terms—what
she calls a "neo-liberal feminism"—creates
a triumphalism around "wealth, financial independence from men, glamour
and good looks" (362). At the same time, it does not "promise equality
of income" (363) because "traditional disadvantages now combine with the
downside effects of new and less predictable fluidities of opportunity"
(364) produced by the mobilities of capital as well as by the insufficiencies
of public support systems, particularly schooling. Examples would be in
the Bush administration's welfare proposals which harden requirements
for recipients, insisting on a 40-hour work week while cutting childcare
expenditures, or an "education president" submitting a budget with "40
times more money for tax cuts than for education" (Wokusch, 2002). This
type of feminism fashions success and equality into fables about market
freedom, independence, autonomy, and experience
that are unrestricted by power, patriarchy, and hierarchical
subordination. Yet, by the lifting of restrictions on capital through
disinvesting, the public has, in fact, curtailed the promise of open access
or rising living standards for women worldwide.
feminism expressed through Hermione positions intellectualism as a product
of hard labor in which the payoff is a self that is new, improved, desirable,
and presented, "fantastically presented," as Baudrillard (1998)
says of the consumer object, "as a harnessing of power” (32). The
hope this feminism offers is for an opening into the magic of class privilege,
the ability to direct cosmic plots and reap rewards of personal fulfillment
as Harry's magical object, a hope that is continually resurrected even
faster than it can be nailed to the cross. Such an experience of knowledge
would award the dream of material comfort and freedom from fear and uncertainty,
what Baudrillard (1998) calls "[a] miraculous security" (34), as Hermione
holds the magical allure of the commodity. In fact, the precariousness
of security offered in Hermione's miraculous abilities to acquire and
accumulate knowledge works to bolster Harry as the ultimate guarantee
of security in his naturalized superiority. Because, in Hermione, female
and non-White identities connect to book knowledge, they are more precarious
and prone to assault and capture by the Dark Forces. Hermione's second-class
status in racial terms is not always surmounted by her book knowledge
as sometimes the book lesson turns into a practical fiasco, like when
she turns herself into a cat and needs to be hospitalized to get back
to human form, or when the Basilisk paralyzes her through the mirror's
gaze, meaning that the knowledge she has gained must serve Harry's survival
and Harry's heroism as she is petrified and lies comatose in the infirmary,
awaiting Harry's ultimate miraculous rescue. Significantly, the novels
often refer to book knowledge as endangering security. "Some of the books
the Ministry's confiscated," Ron explains, "[…] there was one that burned
your eyes out. And everyone who read Sonnets of a Sorcerer spoke
in limericks for the rest of their lives. And some old witch in Bath had
a book that you could never stop reading! You just had to wander
around with your nose in it, trying to do everything one-handed" (Harry
Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 1999: 231).
anti-book attitude culminates in the revenge of Tom Riddle's diary in
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1999). The diary
seduces innocent Ginny Weasley into Voldemort's lair so that her body
could be used as the life source for Voldemort's return. The problem with
Riddle's diary was not that the print and the history only became visible
when the person whose name appeared on the cover, or the person whose
hands it fell into, wrote into it, as it operates like a trans-historical
telephone. Rather, the problem with the diary was that if the book got
into the wrong hands—ultimately Ginny's, the knowledge it produced would
be falsified, thus making all book knowledge suspicious and threatening.
When stabbed by a snake's fang by Harry, the diary painfully bleeds out
Riddle to his demise just as he is about to enter Ginny's body. Like the
book, the girl's body is the site where Riddle's knowledge of evil—his
self-knowledge, his specious knowledge—threatens
to come to life. What saves Ginny from possession by Riddle's diary is
not only Harry's distinctive bravery, but also a set of weapons which
only respond personally to Harry's own faith, ability, and heredity, proving
his might. There is no sense that anything could save Ginny except her
savior's excelling in a ruthless competition of personal strength and
ingenuity, replacing Riddle's self-constructed identity with Harry's better
and stronger naturalized one. Feminism here is being used to justify competition
and personal excellence as winning.
idea that the public, the law, and the political only serve repressive
functions and impede wizards' abilities to practice the fullest extent
of their strengths and talents is, in fact, the very premise on which
the book series itself is marketed. Rowling's story tells that through
her own dedication, adventurous imagination, and ingenuity, much like
Harry's, she was able to rise above the hardship of being a single mother,
riding the wave of her talent to fame and riches. "I made a superhuman
effort," she confesses to her biographer. "I would put Jessica in
her pushchair, take her to the park and try to tire her out. When she
fell asleep I'd rush to a café and write" (Fraser, 2000: 44). Rowling
professes a Horatio Algiers fortitude, catapulted, by sheer force of will
and desire, beyond any need for public assistance or family services and
making the very idea of any public supports seem obsolete, an admission
of lack of inbred talent, intelligence, and inspiration, and an espousal
of Muggle-like mediocrity. "Joanne's health visitor," tells her biographer
Sean Smith, "a compulsory extra for a single mother on benefits—brought
round a few secondhand toys for Jessica: a grubby old teddy bear, a little
plastic house and a telephone that you pulled along with a piece of string.
Joanne was so humiliated by this act of genuine kindness that she stuffed
the toys into a black rubbish bag and left it on the street for the refuse
(2001) has discerned a focus on women in the political rhetoric of meritocracy,
where, in what she calls a "magical reversal" (360), women now embody
the worries over changing market requirements and consumer conditions.
"[E]ven though the majority of young women do not have these opportunities
to become high wage earners" (365), the growing number of independent
and "top-earning" women signify the success of free market enterprise.
For McRobbie (2001), there is a definitive link between "a generation
of women whose commitment to earning a living and accumulating assets
is taken for granted" (362) and women "from extremely disadvantaged communities
which have been experiencing for some time the impact of joblessness"
(368). The feminism which advantaged women are identifying as dictating
economic independence from men is also soliciting a moral condemnation
of women who, at the lower ends of the social hierarchy, cannot make it
in the marketplace. As McRobbie (2001) has remarked, "[S]liding into place
almost unnoticed […] is a New Right vocabulary which celebrates female
success in the marketplace, which punishes failure as individual weakness,
and which boldly advocates competitive individualism as the mark of modern
young womanhood" (371). For example, in John Stockwell's 2002 film Blue
Crush, the lead character, played by Kate Bosworth, is a hotel
maid who worries about making rent every month, particularly after she
gets fired from her job. Her goal is to win a particularly treacherous
surfing contest so that she will become an advertisement for surfing products
and a covergirl for the magazines. As she trains, she meets an NFL superstar
quarterback who gives her emotional support as she makes a bid to get
the attention of the commercial promoters. As superstar femininity is
tied into marketable talent or rather what McRobbie (2001) calls the wish
for becoming the "TV blond," Bosworth's character gets the money,
the job, and the guy. Shadowing the romance here and condemned to poverty
because she is not glib, beautiful, and enterprising is the suggested
possibility of a base foil: a ghastly and despicable hotel maid who is
unjustly fired from her job yet does not act savvy, smart, and sexy enough
to woo the filthy rich football hero nor to ride the waves to glory, wealth,
love, celebrity, and a lucrative career.
the U.S. as in Britain, Rowling's promotion tells a successful story of
self-help in an economy of unmitigated desire: she manages to go from
welfare to work quite successfully without buckling under the difficulties
that many low-income parents have experienced under such programs, like
insurance cuts and disappearing applications for daycare and food stamps
due to overloaded state bureaucratic systems (Houppert, 1999: 11-31).
"The majority of the submitted scripts would go straight into the reject
basket," narrates Sean Smith (2001) at the point when the first Harry
Potter manuscript arrived at the Christopher Little Literary Agency. "I
fished it out to take a look" (131), confesses Bryony Evens, the office
manager whose job it was to sort through submissions, like the Sorting
Hat which can read through students' thoughts and decide in which of the
four Houses in Hogwarts they belong—"Some sort of test, I think" (Harry
Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, 1997: 115), Ron tells Harry. Evens
never ended up earning a share of the huge sums that the agency takes
in, but the Harry Potter manuscript magically rises to the top of the
pile because of its distinction, and the rest is history.
story sets her apart from the standard stereotype of single motherhood:
the dependent, often black welfare mom. This mother-made-good works to
falsify any claims that corporatization has led to a shrinking of state
supports and a contingent impoverishment of the living conditions of low-income
people, the increasing obstacles to better standards of living, and a
growing worldwide culture of racism, as the "Third World" is
turned into a labor force increasingly cheapening to accommodate the flights
of a capitalism with increasingly invisible borders. In fact, the black
welfare mom is one of the dominant stereotypes which cultural historian
Robin Kelley (1998) has identified as producing a racism focused on culture
and behavior over biology, where "black people and the 'inner city'"
are constituted as inherited "social problems," adding up "to
a merciless attack on black mothers specifically, and black families more
generally" (4). In the case of Harry Potter, the successes of Harry
and of Rowling herself "prove" that the background figure of
the black welfare
mom is, if not deserving of the kind of treatment dealt out by the Death
Eaters, at the very least culturally deficient because she lacks the drive,
competence, diligence, and the inbred talent that have given moms like
Rowling a better chance. The irony here is that even as women in the marketing
of the Harry Potter books are representing the freedom of pure capitalism
and the miracles of freedom of opportunity, women worldwide are the hardest
hit by such magic. Rather than flourishing under the ghostly protections
of sacrificing mothers, children are suffering and even starving as a
result of women's strangulation in economic lassitude, wage depressions,
educational impoverishment, austerity measures, and lack of public assistance.
specters of blackness and poverty do not end with narratives about inheritance,
excellence, and natural talent which the market—like standardized tests
and magical hats—immediately and magically recognizes. As well, when a
murderer escapes from prison, the directors of Hogwarts invite over the
high-security prison guards called Dementors to police the grounds. "Standing
in the doorway, illuminated by the shivering flames […], was a cloaked
figured that towered to the ceiling. Its face was completely hidden beneath
its hood. Harry's eyes darted downward, and what he saw made his stomach
contract. There was a hand protruding from the cloak and it was glistening,
grayish, slimy-looking, and scabbed, like something dead that had decayed
in water" (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 1999: 83).
Once used for punishing criminals and now transferred to disciplining
students in the name of security, this treacherous creature painfully
sucks out the soul of transgressors, clamping his jaws over the mouth
of his victim to remove the memory and sense of self, leaving only an
empty shell. The victim, Harry says (though tentatively), usually deserves
it (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 1999: 247).
Fortunately, when the mystery gets
solved and the murderer is no longer dangerously at large, the Dementors
return to the prison and the students are freed from their threatening
surveillance and the fear of being caught by their torturing kiss.
the U.S., with two million people in prison and 6.6 million in the criminal
justice system as a whole, David Cole (1999) notes:
[t]he vast majority of those behind
bars are poor; 40 percent of state prisoners
can't even read; and 67 percent of prison inmates did not have full-time
employment when they were arrested. The per capita incarceration rate
among blacks is seven times that among whites. African Americans make
up about 12 percent of the general population, but more than half of
the prison population. They serve longer sentences, have higher arrest
and conviction rates, face
higher bail amounts, and are more often the victims
of police use of deadly force than white citizens. (4)
Lurking just below the surface of
Harry Potter's safety is the possibility of Harry's own punishment if
his magical talent and wisdom do not succeed in saving him from the Dementors'
aggressions or from the predations of criminals. Also invoked is the increasing
use of "physical constraint as a remedy to the problem of public schooling"
(Saltman, 2000: 82). As Saltman (2000) has shown, "This trend is exemplified
in schools by the imposition of surveillance cameras, metal detectors,
drug tests, solitary confinement punishments and other behaviorist control
tactics, mandatory uniforms, police presence, and the hiring of military
personnel as instructors and administrators at all levels of education"
(82). Harry's expertise in getting around and escaping the Dementors through
cunning and wit demonstrates that the Dementors belong elsewhere, wherever
it might be that wizards and witches deserve to have their souls taken
from them because they have allied with the Dark Forces, or where they
have already been turned into empty shells and left with nothing but despair.
impoverishment of women and the weakening of their public supports ushered
in by faith in magic also therefore guarantee a politics which cruelly
targets children. The Dementors function to evoke school discipline as
the reality for those less endowed with the talent and ingenuity to solve
the mystery, return to safety, and restore the conditions of happiness.
In fact, the presence of the Dementors recalls the unhappy moment when
Harry almost was sent to public school and that his aunt and uncle, embarrassed
by Harry's difference, still boast to their friends and relatives that
Harry is attending a school for incurable criminals. In other words, the
Dementors separate a place of bourgeois spirit and profitability as undeserving
of pain, punishment, and containment from the non-productive sectors from
which Harry is to be saved by magic, sectors defined here as human waste,
or rather, public schools that make their students soulless and stupid.
As Saltman (2000) adds, "The focus on discipline wrongly suggests that
the problems of education stem from the failures of individuals—students,
teachers, and administrators—to conform to a fundamentally fair system"
narrative of Rowling's magical rise to fame and fortune participates in
a broader ideological inscription where public power and the institutions
that ensure it are morally questioned for blocking the profit-seeking
of private initiative. This is an instance where an oppositional politics
of protest—liberal feminism—is being channeled to fuel exactly the terms
of power it had originally set out to oppose. A liberal feminism which
premised itself on financial independence, personal choice, and equal
representation is now being used against its own goals: female financial
independence was redesigned in neoliberal philosophy to denounce and scapegoat
public institutions and thereby blame poor people for social, economic,
and cultural inequalities instituted by the unfair distribution of public
resources demanded by the pundits and profiteers of corporatism and privatization.
The idea of independence and self-sufficiency fostered in feminism's second
wave and reproduced in its media images has been used to vilify welfare
and public services as well as to bolster public philosophies that blame
private individuals rather than institutions for distributive injustices.
The privatization of public functions has been as much the product of
an ideological and symbolic assault on public spaces and public initiatives—in
which the Harry Potter series plays a part—as of a material deregulation
of corporate growth. In order to build institutions that support the promise
of a democratic future for children, political opposition needs to be
reconceived as a politics of defense for public institutions, rather than
as a politics of magical personal initiative empowered through the private
sensations of commodification and consumerism.
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10 October 2003.
Farah Mendlesohn: "[W]hen Harry's parents died, they left him substantial
amounts of money. In normal circumstances, any court would release some
portion of that money for
his care. Instead, Harry's proper guardians, the wizards and their government,
deliberately choose to leave
him to unknown relatives who are expected to care for him without
recompense or assistance […]. And while the Dursleys are vile, the wizardly
decision not to provide financial
support for their care of Harry is not based upon this
judgment, for the wizards provide no evidence that they have taken this
into account" (172).
Rowling gives generously
to the National Council for One Parent Families, Maggie's Centres
of Edinburgh which gives counseling support to cancer victims and their
families, and the MS Society
See Williams, John. "Look,
Child Poverty in the Wealthy Countries Isn't Necessary," The
International Herald Tribune. 24 July 2000: A13. See also Hartman,
Chris. "Facts and Figures."
19 September 2000. He
observes that, "nine states have reduced child poverty rates by more
than 30 percent since 1993. These states include: Tennessee, Michigan,
Arkansas, South Carolina, Mississippi, Kentucky, Illinois and New Jersey.
Michigan is a prime example of a national trend, in that even the recent
dramatic improvement did not counter the losses of the previous 15 years
in which its poverty rate increased 121 percent. In California, the number
of children living in poverty has grown from 900,000 in 1979, to 2.15
million in 1998" (3).
The Harry Potter series has also generated an array of spin merchandising:
toys, clothing, diaries, calendars, bookmarks, pillowcases, swim suits,
baseball hats, hair bands,
watches, candy, playing cards, and now the highest grossing video game
ever, distributed by AOL to
a potential audience of 25 million users (Smith, 2001). Coca-Cola
alone paid Warner Bros. $150,000 million for an exclusive partnership
in the films' marketing, announcing,
"It was tremendously important that we create a partnership
that would have the ability to globally support the power and magic of
Harry Potter" (Smith, 2001:
According to a follow-up study on the Fourth World Conference on Women
and The World Summit
for Social Development, the number of women in the workforce in OECD
countries grew by twice that of men in the 1980's. In Europe, women have
made up 7 million of the 8 million
newly employed. Women migrate more for work, and women
in developing countries work longer hours. Women
also work more in service jobs (71
percent in the Caribbean; 60 percent in developing countries) and agricultural
jobs (80 percent in sub-Saharan
Africa; 50 percent in Asia). Meanwhile, women compose only
14 percent of administrative and management jobs and less than 6 percent
of senior management jobs worldwide
Robin Truth Goodman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Florida State University, and a Global Fellow at the International Institute, University of California at Los Angeles. She is author of Infertilities: Exploring Fictions of Barren Bodies and World, Class, Women: Global Literature, Education, and Feminism; and co-author of Strange Love: Or How We Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Market.
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