ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Jan BremanSubscribe to Jan Breman

Covering the Dynamics of a Changing World

The author, a sociologist engaged in anthropological fieldwork in the study of labour came to India as a PhD student, became a regular reader of the Economic Weekly, later the Economic & Political Weekly and graduated to contribute articles to the journal and become a friend of Krishna Raj. Here, he muses on what the journal has meant to him and to its readers down the decades.

Down and Out in Ahmedabad

Migrant workers, who are often landless labourers, seek succour and refuge in night shelters mandated by the Supreme Court of India.

The Gujarat Model of Growth, Development and Governance

Growth or Development; Which Way Is Gujarat Going? edited by Indira Hirway, Amita Shah and Ghanshyam Shah (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2014; pp 608, Rs 1,395.

Land Flight in Sindh

Land fl ight from the fl ood-prone Sindh countryside in Pakistan is becoming increasingly widespread, driven by a feudal agrarian regime which has millions of land-poor peasants bound in debt and servitude and by rising population pressure on agrarian resources. Together these make sharecropping and rural labour extremely unviable sources of livelihood. This article looks at the agrarian crisis and the proletarianisation of the peasantry stuck halfway between the countryside and the city.

The Talibanisation of Society in Pakistan

Abandoned by their government, the poor of Pakistan have turned to the Taliban and other fundamentalist groups for support and solace. At the same time, a growing pressure for emancipation presses against fundamentalism. Which force will triumph? A report based on travel in rural Sindh.

India's Social Question in a State of Denial

In the four and a half years of its existence the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector submitted nine reports exploring a variety of conditions in India's "unorganised" sector. It is not surprising that the analyses and recommendations of these reports have been ignored by the government, for they call attention to the urgent need to address the inequality and non-inclusiveness in India's growth process. A refl ection on the NCEUS' reports, in particular the last report of the commission on the challenge of employment.

Return of Social Inequality

The agendas of the transnational institutions with a mandate to steer the global economy may focus on combating poverty, but in the neoclassical policies that lie behind them the increasingly vocal message is that the poor masses mainly have themselves to blame for their plight. Deprivation and subordination have not yet been transformed into a policy of systematic exclusion. But the idea seems to have been revived that it is not poverty itself but the impoverished human material that suffers from it that represent an unacceptable burden for the better-off of the world.

Developmentalism:Towards A New Regime

The change in thinking on development is best expressed in the abandonment of the belief in autonomy and equality as the fundamental principles of the world order. Although the term development cooperation is still used, the egalitarianism, that the concept implied has been replaced by a more pedantic, even punitive, tone. The idealism of incorporating developing countries into a coordinated alliance of states and peoples has been replaced by a stratified order in which most nations realise that they remain dependent and subordinate to the west, and subject to the discipline of the capitalist market.

At the Bottom of the Urban Economy

At the Bottom of the Urban Economy City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty by Ananya Roy; published as Volume 10 in the series Globalisation and Community , University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2003; pp 352, $ 22.95 (paperback).

Communal Upheaval as Resurgence of Social Darwinism

There can be no two opinions about the well-entrenched nature of the Hindutva movement and its predecessors in Gujarat, strongly opposed to communal harmony and to the design of society as a melting pot of diverse and open-ended social segments. However, this explanation of the recent tragic events in the state has to be contextualised within the changing political economy of Gujarat. The comments that follow relate to Ahmedabad, the primary location of many of the horrors that have been reported.

An Informalised Labour System

The textile mill closures in Ahmedabad cost over 1,00,000 jobs, and resulted in the informalisation of a vast majority of the sacked workers. Gujarat can thus be understood as an experiment for trying out what will happen to state and society under a policy regime that does not attempt to harness the most brutal consequences of a market-led mode of capitalist protection. The total eclipse of Gandhian values has also led to the shrinking of the social space needed for humanising economic growth.

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