Intended for researchers, students, policymakers and practitioners, this book draws on detailed longitudinal fieldwork in rural south India to analyse the conditions of the rural poor and their patterns of change. Focusing on the three interrelated arenas of production, state, and civil society, it argues for a class-relational approach focused on forms of exploitation, domination and accumulation. The book focuses on class relations, how they are mediated by state institutions and civil society organisations, and how they vary within the countryside, when rural-based labour migrates to the city, and according to patterns of accumulation, caste dynamics, and villages’ levels of irrigation and degrees of remoteness. More specifically it analyses class relations in the agriculture and construction sectors, and among local government institutions, social movements, community-based organisations and NGOs. It shows how the dominant class reproduces its control over labour by shaping the activities of increasingly prominent local government institutions, and by exerting influence over the mass of new community-based organisations whose formation has been fostered by neoliberal policy. The book is centrally concerned with countervailing moves to improve the position of classes of labour. Increasingly informalised and segmented across multiple occupations in multiple locations, India’s ‘classes of labour’ are far from passive in the face of ongoing processes of exploitation and domination. Forms of labouring class organisation are often small-scale and tend to be oriented around the state and social policy. Despite their limitations, the book argues that such forms of contestation of government policy currently play a significant role in strategies for redistributing power and resources towards the labouring class, and suggests that they can help to clear the way for more broad-based and fundamental social change.
Labour, state and civil society in
The fieldwork-based chapters of this book explore three co-constitutive
aspects of class relations in ruralIndia: those in and around sites of production, and their mediation by both the state and different types of civil
society organisations (CSOs). The purpose of this chapter is to set the
scene for what follows by drawing out key trends and debates from the
broader India literature.
It proceeds in four parts. The first uses government datasets to flesh
out a number of points that have already been made in
The policing of nineteenth-century Bengal and Bihar
other such instruments rather than being a force for
the detection and reduction of crime. Its evolution reflected these
purposes. Hence we begin from a more general appreciation of the problem
of ‘ordering’ a predominantly ruralIndia, to identify the
place occupied by the police in the policies of the state, and the
extent to which policing was not merely a matter for the police. These
A Belated but Welcome Theory of Change on Mental Health and
. Soap and hand-sanitisers are important
weapons against COVID-19, yet 33 per cent of those in ruralIndia have no access to
soap after toilet use, and even in urban areas almost 14 per cent of the population
does not have both bathroom and toilet within the household premises ( Government of India, National Sample Survey
Office, 2018 : 38). Lingam and Sapkal
(2020 : 177) identified poverty as a key pandemic mortality factor
spanning three differentials: exposure
From the Victorian period to the present, images of the policeman have played a prominent role in the literature of empire, shaping popular perceptions of colonial policing. This book covers and compares the different ways and means that were employed in policing policies from 1830 to 1940. Countries covered range from Ireland, Australia, Africa and India to New Zealand and the Caribbean. As patterns of authority, of accountability and of consent, control and coercion evolved in each colony the general trend was towards a greater concentration of police time upon crime. The most important aspect of imperial linkage in colonial policing was the movement of personnel from one colony to another. To evaluate the precise role of the 'Irish model' in colonial police forces is at present probably beyond the powers of any one scholar. Policing in Queensland played a vital role in the construction of the colonial social order. In 1886 the constabulary was split by legislation into the New Zealand Police Force and the standing army or Permanent Militia. The nature of the British influence in the Klondike gold rush may be seen both in the policy of the government and in the actions of the men sent to enforce it. The book also overviews the role of policing in guarding the Gold Coast, police support in 1954 Sudan, Orange River Colony, Colonial Mombasa and Kenya, as well as and nineteenth-century rural India.
of child labourers; collecting electricity bills;
delivery of drinking water; yoga classes.
Source: fieldwork data.
136 Labour, state and society in rural India
to NGOs). The only significant change concerned the scale of SHG loans
(discussed below). The chapter’s focus, as in the book as a whole, is on
how power and resources can be redistributed towards classes of labour.
The chapter’s central argument is that the neoliberalisation of civil society crowds out and undermines pro-labouring class organisation.
The forms taken by civil society vary according
accumulation and labouring
class reproduction to form the broader patterns of class relations at a
local level with which ‘everyday’ relations at the level of production are
co-constituted. This chapter’s analysis of control within the production
process and its immediate ‘local’ contexts sheds some light not only on
differences in material conditions, but also on how poverty reduction
64 Labour, state and society in rural India
programmes play out in particular places in practice (see Chapters 5 and
6), and how organisations of the labouring class might be formed
‘ideological holism’ (Bailey 1991 ), I argue that a growing archive of local ideas about
cultural loss and ‘outside’ influences partially
obscures underlying pathologies of power within ruralIndia, and the
forces that divide and defer the tribal from non-tribal.
‘Ideas and their use’: witches and the
Bailey produced numerous
Conclusion: poverty and class
This book has argued for a class-relational approach to labour, state and
society in ruralIndia. In doing so it has sought to contribute to ‘analysis of the social conditions of classes of labour in global capitalism, and
the challenges their diverse forms of fragmentation present’ (Bernstein
2006:457). In contrast to ‘residual’ and some ‘semi-relational’ approaches
to poverty, it has argued that analysis of class relations is central to
understanding the conditions of classes of labour and the possibilities for
‘participatory’ decision-making processes, while maintaining the fundamentals of the neoliberal policy agenda (Ruckert 2006). Decentralised
forms of government, meanwhile, induced ‘people to experience tightly
controlled forms of pro-market activity as empowerment’, while exerting pressure on the state to deliver resources efficiently and encouraging
‘beneficiaries’ to contribute to the costs of such services (Cammack
2 Labour, state and society in rural India
2003:1). The proliferation of local institutions was seen as helping to