Nandini Gooptu (Oxford): New Cultures of Work, Youth, and Politics in India

23.02.2021, Vortrag, online

Organized by the DHI London.

Online Event, 5:30pm

India has, in recent decades, witnessed a sea change in the nature and settings of work. New workplaces and work cultures have grown in tandem with India’s consumer revolution, notably in the burgeoning interactive service sector. Here, the demands of customer service are reshaping the political subjectivity and democratic sensibility of the predominantly young workforce. Workers develop new forms of critical understanding of the self and society through the assessment of customers’ needs and conduct, as well as through emotional reflexivity, self-control, and self-awareness that are critical components of customer care. These, in turn, stimulate a personalized, individualized, transactional, and clientelistic approach to politics in preference to collective action, while also unleashing a critique of class, power, and hierarchy.

Nandini Gooptu is Associate Professor of South Asian Studies in the Oxford Department of International Development and a Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford. She is the author of The Politics of the Urban Poor in Early-Twentieth Century India (2001), editor of Enterprise Culture in Neoliberal India (2013), and joint-editor of India and the British Empire (2012), and The Persistence of Poverty in India (2017).

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