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

Nandini GooptuSubscribe to Nandini Gooptu

Neoliberal Subjectivity, Enterprise Culture and New Workplaces: Organised Retail and Shopping Malls in India

With a case study of young workers in organised retail in shopping malls in Kolkata, this paper aims to illuminate how emerging labour processes as well as the organisation and culture of new workplaces in India today have far-reaching consequences beyond the economy and is transforming Indian society and politics in profound ways. With the adoption of market-driven and business-friendly public policy in India, new workplaces like shopping malls are playing a decisive part in crafting suitable workers and citizens, and in reshaping individual subjectivity, consonant with the needs of the market and of neoliberal governmentality for self-governing citizens and self-driven, pliant workers. The paper shows how young workers seek personal solutions to structurally or systemically generated problems in the economy and at the workplace; emphasise the responsibility, autonomy and agency of the self-driven, enterprising individual; disavow formal party politics and political engagement; negate the significance of the state in public policy; and allow both the government and employers to abdicate any responsibility for workers' and citizens' well-being.

Economic Liberalisation, Work and Democracy

Economic liberalisation has brought about significant changes in the experience and meanings of work, as well as in the social consciousness and political subjectivity of workers. This paper explores the transformation of ideas about the state, democracy and rights, and the impact on political action. A case study of declining jute industrial areas of Kolkata shows that the labouring poor interpret their experience of unemployment and "casualisation" not primarily as an economic phenomenon, but as a political crisis involving the betrayal of the working classes. This perception has led the poor to abandon political activism, to condemn democratic politics as unrepresentative, and to confine their engagement with institutional politics merely to extracting patronage benefits. Working class youth seek to exercise their agency within the urban locality in diverse ways, ranging from extortion and coercion to local community-oriented social work. Politics among this section of the poor is undergoing intense localisation, shunning the wider arena of democratic politics, thus spelling a crisis of political representation and participation.

The Problem of the Urban Poor Policy and Discourse of Local Administration-A Study in Uttar Pradesh in the Interwar Period

The 'Problem' of the Urban Poor Policy and Discourse of Local Administration A Study in Uttar Pradesh in the Interwar Period Nandini Gooptu Based on a case study of four of the largest towns of Uttar Pradesh, this paper discusses the measures of the local authorities to reduce urban overcrowding, to improve sanitary and public health conditions and to implement town- planning schemes, all of which were undertaken in the interwar period on afar more extensive scale than ever before. It demonstrates that these policies contributed significantly to the creation' of the 'problem' of the urban poor, both materially by intensifying their scarcity of housing or impairing their sources of livelihood and discursively by categorising them as a distinct social group defined by their undesirable habits and practices.
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