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Title: Regulated labour, unruly workers : the making of industrial relations in late nineteenth-century Bombay
Author: Sarkar, Aditya
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2009
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This dissertation explores the making of industrial relations in colonial Bombay, India's largest manufacturing centre, between the 1870s and the end of the 1890s. The accent is on the cotton textile industry which sprang up in the second half of the nineteenth century, and came to dominate the city. The thesis is divided into three large sections. First, it considers the ideological, commercial, and political contexts of protective factory legislation for India, which was fashioned into a Factory Act in 1881, and revised in 1891. It examines the relationships of factory law in India with precedents in Britain; with the work of campaigners for social reform and 'improvement' in both metropole and colony; and with the commercial antagonism that emerged in the mid- 1870s between the cotton textile industry of Bombay and of Lancashire, its principal competitor. The second section considers the implications of a regime of protective factory regulation for labour relations in Bombay. It examines in particular the dynamics of factory inspection, which both revealed and released significant tensions within the structure of relations between state, capital and labour. It also explores the debates and controversies around the employment of children in mills, and the ambiguities of their nomination as vulnerable subjects of factory law. The final section of the dissertation expands the question of industrial relations beyond the work of law, and describes the transition towards a more combative, fractious set of relations between employers, state and labourers in the 1890s, indexed by the growing frequency of strikes. This culminates in a detailed exploration of the temporary but significant transformation of industrial relations at the end of the century, when Bombay was struck by the global bubonic plague pandemic. The dissertation thus traces a movement from relations encased by the administration of law to relations marked by confrontational industrial politics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available