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Precarious Labour and Informal Economy

Work, Anarchy, and Society in an Indian Village

Authors: Yadav, Smita

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  • Contributes to an understanding of the economy and society in the global south due to increasing informality and precarious forms of work
  • Provide a rich ethnography of social institutions of trust, family, and other informal social relations 
  • Based on a detailed 12 month ethnography of the Gonds of Central India 
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Buy this book

eBook $89.00
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-77971-3
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $119.00
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-77970-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $119.00
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-08588-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

An empirical account of one of India’s largest indigenous populations, this book tells the story of the Gonds—who currently face displacement and governmental control of the region’s forests, which has crippled their economy. Rather than protesting and calling for state intervention, the Gonds have turned toward an informal economy: they not only engage with flexible forms of work, but also bargain for higher wages and experience agency and autonomy. Smita Yadav conceives of this withdrawal from the state in favour of precarious forms of work as an expression of anarchy by this marginalized population. Even as she provides rich detail of the Gonds’ unusual working lives, which integrate work, labour, and debt practices with ideologies of family and society, Yadav illustrates the strength required to maintain dignity when a welfare state has failed. 

About the authors

Smita Yadav is an anthropologist interested in statelessness/state, anarchy, labour, precarity, universal basic income, gender, migration, religion, secularism, poverty,  indigenous knowledge, South Asia, environment, and politics of  development. She has over ten years experience working as a consultant and academic on these topics in India, US, and UK. She is currently preparing a project on religion, secularism, state and development in India. She teaches Human Geography at the University of Brighton and is a Postdoctoral research associate at the University of Sussex where she completed her PhD in Anthropology.


Reviews

“This well-researched and detailed book will have value for those interested in the changing lives of forest-dependent peoples in Central India and offers particularly insightful comments on education and welfare … .” (Adam Runacres, LSE Review of Books, July 10, 2019)


“Keenly attentive to mining and other forms of wage labor, varied mythic and colonial pasts, intra-community and intra-household differences, inter-generational shifts in desire, and livelihood survival strategies, Smita Yadav takes us on a journey into the lives of the Sur Gonds in this meticulously researched ethnography. Through a variety of concrete examples we enter a range of possibilities and suffocations: a school inspector’s surprise check within which actual educational dysfunction is fated to remain opaque, a botched rural Employment guarantee program, a college graduate who finds himself in a cycle of unskilled daily wage work, new rituals of upward mobility, and forms of social composition that show why Maoist political mobilization does not emerge here. Yadav offers her readers a portrait that remains true to life, an ‘anarchist’ rendering of dignity, autonomy and freedom in the context of majboori (scarcity/necessity).” (Bhrigupati Singh, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Brown University, USA)


“Not all work is a job and not all incomes are salaries. Smita Yadav gives an absorbing account of the economic, social and political world of the Gonds. The desire to combine earning livelihoods with autonomy leads the Gonds to a variety of strategies. The formal administrative world around them is an obstacle  to be worked around. Forests previously theirs have been taken away for preservation of tigers. They have to cope without surrendering their freedom. This monograph brings a fascinating account of how change affects the traditional lives of one of the oldest tribes of Central India and gives us insights into the depth of political change that the country is undergoing. This  book brings a lot of news to us , not all good but all very interesting. A valuable addition to our understanding of the informal economy which is where the majority of Indians work and earn their livelihoods.” (Meghnad Desai, Professor Emeritus of Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK)


“Smita Yadav tells the compelling story of a Gond people in India who were displaced from their revered forests and forced to migrate for survival. Enduring a precarious livelihood, the community has built a dignified autonomy. Relying on family and household, they combine farming, local (often illegal) mining of stones and diamonds as well as other nonfarm work for pay and survival, while remaining independent of the state and maintaining their freedom. Yet mining restrictions and the increasing closure of the forests place ever-greater pressure on them, while government programmes reaching them are thin. The price they pay is high, for the Gond suffer a variety of illnesses, alcoholism, excessive gambling, and domestic violence. Placing her study in historical, social and political contexts, Yadav shows how Gond resilience and dignity, despite the many pressures, are built piecemeal in the interstices of the larger economy and society.” (Stephen Gudeman, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of Minnesota, USA)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $89.00
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-77971-3
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $119.00
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-77970-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $119.00
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-08588-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Precarious Labour and Informal Economy
Book Subtitle
Work, Anarchy, and Society in an Indian Village
Authors
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-77971-3
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-77971-3
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-77970-6
Softcover ISBN
978-3-030-08588-9
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXV, 253
Number of Illustrations
1 b/w illustrations, 1 illustrations in colour
Topics