Introduction
in Labour, state and society in rural India
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The introductory chapter has two purposes. Firstly it outlines the conditions of labour in India, the state of Karnataka and the fieldwork districts and villages. Secondly it outlines the book’s main arguments, which are contrasted to mainstream approaches to the analysis of poverty. Given classes of labour’s high levels of fragmentation and informality and the difficulty of directly challenging capital, emphasis is placed on the extraction of concessions from the state as a strategy for improving the conditions of the poor in the short to medium-term. More specifically this entails labouring class organisation focused primarily on the implementation of welfare programmes, and broader moves to push for pro-labour policy changes. The class-relational approach used in this book analyses labour relations, civil society organisations, local government institutions and state policy through more than a decade of fieldwork across hamlets, villages and districts. By doing so it draws out the uneven dynamics of class relations at different levels and in different social settings, and sheds some light on the impediments to, as well as possibilities for, pro-labouring class change.

Labour, state and society in rural India

A class-relational approach

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