A Conference on Rural Labourers in Neo-liberal India, Bhubaneswar (18-19 December 2010)

A second call for papers for

A Conference on
Rural Labourers in Neo-liberal India

18-19 December 2010

XIMB (Xavier Institute of Management – Bhubaneswar), Orissa, India

Supported by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada
and XIMB, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Neoliberalism has affected India’s rural areas and the agrarian sector particularly harshly. Not only are peasants being dispossessed of their rights to land, water and forests, and of their meager entitlements from the state. But also rural labourers are being subjected to ruthless levels of exploitation on the farms and in agro-industrial units where they produce commodities for the rich domestic elite and for export to rich (and imperialist) countries. While the story of dispossession of peasants has (rightly) attracted much attention in recent times, what has often been neglected is the issue of the production of commodities, the associated process of exploitation, and therefore, the life of the labourers.

Without land or other forms of property and with dwindling welfare benefits from the neoliberal state, rural labourers find themselves in a precarious situation and form a major part of the ‘Republic of Hunger ’. They work as long as they live, and they live as long as they work. Many are footloose labourers constantly in search of work. In many places, employers even take away labourers’ freedom to sell their labour power, in order to cheapen the only commodity they possess and to discipline them. This is the case with bonded and child labourers. As well employers make use of gender and caste/tribality to lower wages of low-caste, women and tribal labourers and to pit one group of labourers against another. These social distinctions are no less used by political parties of the rich property-owning classes to divide and disarm the rural working class electorate. But at the same time, rural labourers (and poor peasants), in spite of them being geographically scattered, are engaged in an ‘uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight’ against exploitation and oppression.

The topic of rural labour in imperialized, poorer countries such as India indeed cries out for serious critical scrutiny. This must place rural labour (including semi-proletarian labour) at the center of our attention in terms of primitive accumulation which produces it and the capitalist accumulation process which exploits it, and in terms of its democratically organized struggles against capital and the neo-liberal state.

Papers are invited which speak to one or more aspects of the situation described above in the specific context of India . Specific topics of interest include:

1. ‘Primitive accumulation’ in relation to labour
2. Rural migrant labourers (working in villages and/or in urban areas)
3. Labour process in export-oriented agricultural production sites
4. Labourers in floriculture and aquaculture
5. Contract farming and rural labour
6. Rural reserve army of labour and neo-liberal accumulation
7. Technological change, rural labour and politics of production
8. Ruralization of capital in the age of ‘new’ imperialism and its effect on labour
9. Environment (e.g. climate change issues, including heat wave) and rural labour
10. Life and livelihood of the unemployed in the villages
11. Poverty/hunger of rural labour households
12. Credit relations (formal and informal) and rural labourers
13. Female labourers, neoliberal state and neoliberal capital
14. Capital and dalit/adivasi labour
15. Rural labouring bodies in pain: capital’s corporeal effect on labour
16. Reduction in state welfare provision and its impact on labourers
17. Government rural wage-employment generation programmes (e.g. NREGS)
18. Development NGOs and rural labour
19. Representation of rural labour in media and popular culture
20. Struggles of rural labourers and poor peasants against capital, landowners, and neo-liberal state
21. Rural labourers in progressive art and media

The original deadline for the submission of abstracts has passed. Though 5th December remains our deadline for receipt of the completed-papers from the authors whose abstracts have been accepted, some slots are now available with us for considering directly-submitted completed-papers from those that did not submit abstracts or whose abstracts did not get accepted; the deadline for these is 15th November.

Website: http://sites.google.com/a/ximb.ac.in/rlni/
E-mail (for inquiries): conf-rural-labour@ximb.ac.in
Tel: +91-94370-75075


  1. i am happy to inform you that if you want to make a second chance,before 15 november 2010.this is a good practice for delayed response.creative minds to nurse and develop such a system.please suggest me for research article or research paper?needs for reference ‘or’ not….truly your’s dr.devendra dwivedi…devkr_2006@rediffmail.com

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