Dynamics of domination in rural South India
in Labour, state and society in rural India
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Contextualised by an outline of Karnataka’s recent political history, this chapter focuses on how the dominant class uses political institutions to maintain and advance its position. It is concerned with the interplay of accumulation, domination and the everyday workings of political institutions. Although primarily focused on dynamics of domination and exploitation at local government level (and in connection with state poverty reduction programmes), it also traces the links between accumulation and domination up to the level of state institutions, and points to the links between political power and agribusiness, mining and real estate. At the level of local government the chapter shows the critical role played by gatekeepers (those who man the interface between state and society) in shaping the material and political outcomes of state policy. More influential gatekeepers, who tend to be from the dominant class and caste, are able to advance their economic position and strengthen their political position by using their role as distributors of public resources to reproduce labouring class dependence. The chapter locates processes of corruption among class relations, and argues that talk of a shift towards ‘post-clientilist’ states is premature and overstated - particularly in areas with relatively steep social hierarchies.

Labour, state and society in rural India

A class-relational approach

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