Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.573586
Title: The unmaking of the worker-self in post-industrial Mumbai : a study of ex-millworkers' responses to the closure of textile mills in Girangaon
Author: Mhaskar, Sumeet
ISNI:       0000 0004 0175 9051
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract:
This thesis addresses the central question: how have Mumbai's ex-millworkers responded to the closure of textile mills? To investigate this question it adopts a mixed methods approach which includes 112 interviews with ex-millworkers, trade union leaders, government officials, social, political and cultural activists, and a survey of 1037 ex-millworkers (924 city based and 113 return migrants). Using this empirical evidence, this thesis focuses on three responses unexplored in the- literature on industrial closures and the responses of the retrenched workforce in contemporary India. These themes include first, the fate of the ex-millworkers who returned to the villages, second, the impact of the social identities of various ex-millworkers upon their employment prospects in the post-closure period and third, the emergence of a non-communal, non-nativist, form of political participation among retrenched workers. The thesis first lays out background to the study by examining the changes that have taken place in the social composition of the workforce and its implications for the working class neighbourhoods, particularly social relations and politics. Following this, it goes on to analyse the phenomenon of return migration: the conditions that led ex-millworkers to opt for return migration, and whether this strategy has ensured their incorporation into the rural milieu. It also tries to understand the political mobilisation of ex-millworkers in rural areas and its implications for their experience of life in the village. Moving towards the city-based ex-millworkers, this thesis looks at the ways in which their occupational choices after the closure of the mills were shaped by social institutions such as caste and religion. Finally, the political mobilisation of the ex-millworkers around the rehabilitation question is the subject of enquiry. This inquiry looks at the interaction of state, labour and capital over the issues of alternative employment and housing for ex-millworkers. The thesis makes a strong case for an expanded understanding of ex-millworkers' experience of post-industrial Mumbai. Millworkers had evolved a complex and unique notion of self-hood connected to the activities of work, leisure and forms of recognition - both political and social - that sprang up around industrial employment. The closure of the mills has, consequently, been more than a mere shrinking of economic opportunities. It has been experienced as a multi- pronged assault upon and re fashioning of workers' identities. Nevertheless, through their protests, ex-millworkers' efforts to hold onto, and even expand the worker-self continue. The transformation of the landscape of 'world class', post-industrial, neoliberal Mumbai cannot be understood without reference to this contested unmaking of the worker-self.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.573586  DOI: Not available
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