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’. 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, primarily as agricultural labourers and construction workers. Elements of social policy can improve the poor’s material conditions and expand their political space where 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.
About the Author
JONATHAN PATTENDEN is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Politics and International Development at the University of East Anglia, UK, and co-editor of Class Dynamics of Development (Routledge, 2017).