South Asia

Organized Panel Session

5 - Gathering Together and Fragmenting: Labour Agency and the Inside and Outside of Capital

Friday, July 6
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Kadamba, Lower Ground Floor

The paper examines workers’ agency in producing space, focusing on fieldwork in a Sunday market frequented by migrant workers in Kochi, Kerala, Southern India. The bustling subaltern commerce, gatherings of friends and co-villagers, a formation of networks of information, and creation of services that are migrant-specific; all of these together fashioned a space that serviced a migrant identity. This dialectical relationship between migrant identity and the space of the market recalls older debates on class in itself and class for itself and the relationship between the agency of capital and the agency of labor. As Henri Lefebvre remarks while evaluating the Soviet Union, no social relation can survive without producing social space. For working-class mobilization to sustain and make inroads into the class power of capital, it needs to produce spaces of its own. These spaces come into being in several ways; I explore two: creation of the Sunday market and formation of a migrant workers’ union. The struggle against police harassment in the Sunday market takes resistance to capital outside the capital-labor relation itself and into the public domain (Bhattacharya and Sanyal, 2009). Yet, wages and workplace relations remain inescapable domains of resistance.


Reference


Sanyal, K., & Bhattacharya,R. (2009). Beyond the Factory: Globalization, Informalization of Production and the New Locations of Labor. Economic and Political Weekly, 44 (22),35-44.


 

Mythri Prasad-Aleyamma

Institute for Human Development, India

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5 - Gathering Together and Fragmenting: Labour Agency and the Inside and Outside of Capital



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