Is there an Indian precariat? Evidence from the auto manufacturing industry

Journal article


Barnes, Tom. (2021). Is there an Indian precariat? Evidence from the auto manufacturing industry. Journal of Contemporary Asia. 52(2), pp. 319-340. https://doi.org/10.1080/00472336.2021.1888148
AuthorsBarnes, Tom
Abstract

Guy Standing’s precariat thesis, which suggests that precarious workers have distinctive class interests, has resonance in India where the overwhelming majority of workers lack adequate social protection. Among many criticisms, researchers have responded that this thesis ignores the historical experience of workers in poor countries and erroneously frames precarity as the province of a separate social class. As part of this debate, Erik Olin Wright argued that precarious workers were better understood as a potential fraction of the working class whose interests sometimes complemented and sometimes conflicted with the interests of other workers depending upon the regulatory scale and political terrain of struggle. Using an ethnography-based case study of automotive manufacturing in India’s National Capital Region, this article considers which of these frameworks – Standing’s or Wright’s – is better able to address the dynamic of contemporary struggle in a local labour control regime which has displaced an established core of “regular workers” with a surplus population of precarious “contract workers.”

Keywordsprecariat; precarious work; social class; India; local labour control regime; auto industry
Year2021
JournalJournal of Contemporary Asia
Journal citation52 (2), pp. 319-340
PublisherRoutledge
ISSN1752-7554
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/00472336.2021.1888148
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85101648628
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range319-340
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online24 Feb 2021
Publication process dates
Deposited24 May 2022
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