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"Labour, state and society in rural India"A class-relational approach$
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Jonathan Pattenden

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089145

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089145.001.0001

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poverty and class

(p.163) 9 Conclusion
"Labour, state and society in rural India"

Jonathan Pattenden

Manchester University Press

The conclusion provides an overview of the book’s main arguments while looking ahead to the future. In contrast to ‘residual’ and some ‘semi-relational’ approaches to poverty, the book has argued that analysis of class relations is central to understanding the conditions of classes of labour, and the possibilities for pro-labouring class change. Class relations have been analysed primarily in terms of changing forms of exploitation and domination, and the ways they are mediated by forms of collective action and the state. As the bases of classes of labour’s reproduction and patterns of capitalist accumulation are modified, so too are the ways in which labour is controlled and is able to extract concessions from capital and the state. The uneven trajectories of class relations have been illustrated through longitudinal fieldwork material in a number of south Indian villages. Labour relations differ in form between villages with greater and lesser levels of irrigation, between villages that are more or less tightly integrated into non-agricultural labour markets, between those where accumulation remains focused on agriculture or has become more oriented around the state, and between the countryside and the city. While local government institutions and ‘neoliberal’ civil society organisations tend to reinforce the status quo, the interplay of labouring class organisation and pro-labour government policy can produce minor gains for classes of labour. If both can be scaled up, labour’s conditions improve, and the possibilities for more broad-based social change increase.

Keywords:   Class Relations, Domination, Exploitation, Accumulation, Control, Labouring Class Organisation

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