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Informal Labor, Formal Politics, and Dignified Discontent in India (Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics)

Informal Labor, Formal Politics, and Dignified Discontent in India (Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics)

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Professor Rina Agarwala
Cambridge University Press, 2013-04-08
EAN 9781107663084, ISBN10: 1107663083

Hardcover, 264 pages, 22.6 x 15.2 x 2.3 cm

“What a splendid book! In the face of market fundamentalism, Rina Agarwala shows how informal workers in India have managed to exploit competitive politics to wring concessions from the state. A chink of light in a bleak scene. Labor optimists and pessimists alike must read this book.” – Michael Burawoy, University of California, Berkeley

“Combining rigorous scholarship with remarkable empathy for her research subjects, Rina Agarwala illuminates the surprising capacity of informal sector workers in India to win victories even as the government turned to market-oriented policies. Her study forces us to think differently about the intersection of poverty, unions, government, and social movements.” – Fred Block, University of California, Davis

“The global rise of neoliberalism, and its increasing strength, means that whether in India or the United States, labor must develop new strategies and forms and organize new constituencies or be increasingly marginalized. As Agarwala brilliantly shows, neoliberalism weakens traditional union forms, increases the importance of informal labor, and – most importantly – creates possibilities for informal workers to act through new organizational forms that pressure the state.” – Dan Clawson, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

“This book explores the remarkable and surprising organizational successes of women workers in two sectors of India’s vast informal economy. In a masterful comparative analysis that cuts across three Indian states, Agarwala not only explains how these women have articulated and claimed rights as workers, but also provides a fascinating account of how their mobilization marks a new paradigm in labor organizing. For anyone interested in understanding the momentous social and economic transformation that India is going through, this is a must-read.” – Patrick Heller, Brown University

“This is a powerful and measured analysis of how India’s informal working class makes effective citizenship claims to the state. Dispelling the myth of an inevitable decline of the labor movement in an age of alleged neo-liberalization, this fascinating India story offers an indispensable beacon of hope for working people worldwide.” – Ching Kwan Lee, University of California, Los Angeles

“This is a beautifully crafted, path-breaking study that upends conventional wisdom about the relentless demise of labor movements. Agarwala’s lucid analysis of the ways in which precariously employed informal workers in India have organized to improve their status bristles with insights on every page. This superb book is a must-read not only for specialists in South Asia but for anyone interested in the future of the labor movement, in the global North as much as in the South.” – Ruth Milkman, City University of New York