Re-making Labour in India: State Policy, Corporate Power and Labour Movement Mobilisation

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This chapter interprets the shifting political dynamics of state–capital–labour relations with reference to contemporary debates in global labour studies on the relationship between (spatial) capitalist strategies for accumulation and the emergence of new sites of labour conflict and associated opportunities for labour movement mobilisation. Capitalist states, while promoting and pursuing accumulation through subordination and re-regulation, cannot completely evade questions of legitimacy or the “problem” of either co-opting or negating the associational, structural and political bargaining power of workers. The chapter considers how these logics translate to the operation of the current labour relations regime in India and the design and implementation of reforms proposed by the Modi Government. The chapter also considers the relative opportunities for, and obstacles to, labour movement mobilisation to defeat, mediate or transform current labour policies and practices. The relationship between labour movement action and labour policy and institutions can also be understood with reference to the factors that enable unions and workers organisations to act as social movements, and thereby contribute to broader struggles for democratic deepening, and those that constrain or circumscribe them to a narrowing role and legitimacy as institutional participants.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Movements and the State in India: Deepening Democracy?
EditorsKenneth Bo Nielsen, Alf Gunvald Nilsen
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-59133-3
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-59132-6
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameRethinking International Development series


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