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Title: Bringing 'Operaismo' to Gurgaon : a study of labour composition and resistance practices in the Indian auto industry
Author: Monaco, Lorenza
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 643X
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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Inspired by the Italian tradition of 'Operaismo' (Workerism), or Autonomist Marxism, this thesis provides an analysis of labour composition and of the struggles that have recently affected the Auto cluster of the National Capital Region (NCR), the metropolitan conglomerate of Delhi, in India. The analysis builds on Operaismo not only by deploying its key methodological tool, namely the workers' enquiry, but also by adopting its main interpretative paradigm of exploring industrial conflict through the 'lens' of the working class. In line with a Workerist perspective, the investigation of labour struggles in the NCR, and of the Maruti case in particular, becomes an opportunity to reflect on working class formation and agency within capitalist development, and on the relationship between working class and institutions, through the concept of autonomia. Within what Tronti defined as a Copernican Revolution, the working class determines the trajectory followed by the process of capitalist development, seen as a 'reactive formation' where capital strategies are nothing but a response to labour struggles. With reference to the global Auto sector, capital strategies are unveiled by debunking myths associated with the lean manufacturing paradigm. For such purpose, a critical social relations approach is deployed to complement the analysis of the real politics of production that lie behind the global restructuring of manufacturing and labour regimes within the Indian Auto industry. Through a combination of these two theoretical approaches, the thesis illustrates the overall features of the NCR workforce, in order to explain motivations and dynamics of struggle in the area. Indeed, the case discussed here is an example of 'where lean may fail', and of how capital strategies cannot prevent labour from organising, even in settings characterised by high levels of casualisation. In this light, what discussed in here may prove of theoretical and political relevance also beyond the Indian case.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral