Behind India’s recent economic growth lies a story of societal conflict that is scarcely talked about. Across its villages and production sites, state institutions and civil society organisations, the better and less well-off sections of society are engaged in antagonistic relations that determine the material conditions of one quarter of the world’s ‘poor’. Increasingly mobile and often with several jobs in multiple locations, India’s ‘classes of labour’ are highly segmented but far from passive in the face of ongoing exploitation and domination.
Drawing on more than a decade of fieldwork in rural South India, this book uses a ‘class-relational’ approach to analyse continuity and change in processes of accumulation, exploitation and domination. It focuses on the three interrelated arenas of labour relations, the state and civil society to understand how improvements can be made in the conditions of labourers working ‘at the margins’ of global production networks, primarilyas agricultural labourers and construction workers.Elements of social policy can improve the poor’s material conditions and expand their political spacewhere such ends are actively pursued by labouring class organisations. More fundamental change, though, requires stronger organisation of the informal workers who make up the majority of India’s population.
Society and Culture in India is a collection of eighteen carefully chosen essays written by internationally famous sociologists whose work is on India. It has been designed to take the reader through the discipline of Sociology to get an understanding of the complex nature of Indian society.
The editor of the volume, Subas Mohapatra has very perceptively grouped the various readings in the book under five main heads, they are: ‘An Introduction to Sociology and Pioneering Sociologists’, ‘Sociology of Caste Past and Present’, ‘Rural and Agrarian Society’, ‘Poverty and Development’ and ‘Contemporary Social Issues’.
The essays in this book dwell on several separate subject areas of sociology. This enables the Reader to provide a comprehensive view of the discipline of sociology itself as well as the society it tries to understand.
Some of the main concerns of this book are: growth and development of sociology in India; changing nature of caste, village and rural society; sociological analysis of poverty and contemporary issues associated with civil society; gender inequality and secularism and communalism.
The Reader does not try to be thematically exhaustive but it nevertheless enables one to see order beneath the everyday confusions of life in India.