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dc.contributor.authorPriyadarshini, Anamika
dc.date.accessioned2017-08-23T20:26:15Z
dc.date.available2017-08-23T20:26:15Z
dc.date.issued2016
dc.identifier.isbn9781339480428
dc.identifier.other1767456809
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10477/76489
dc.description.abstractI assume that evidence regarding women home-based workers, like many other groups of subalterns, are present in elite discourses. This preliminary work on the history of Bihar’s women home-based workers counters the argument that retrieval of evidence on nineteenth-century unorganized workers’ history is an impractical project. The dissertation analyzes the impact of the dominant political economy on the historical marginalization of women home-based workers at various historical junctures and establishes that restoration of women home-based workers’ history is primarily a project of revisiting available literature. A “creative reading” (Singer, 1997, p. 19) of colonial documents from a feminist perspective facilitates in approaching nineteenth-century Bihar’s women home-based workers who are possibly too dispersed to be visible in the official documents. My dissertation attempts to retrieve the almost indiscernible information from the official documents and compile a tangible history of a group of unrecognized women workers. Hence, the project of restoring nineteenth-century Bihari women home-based workers’ history in my dissertation is primarily based on a feminist review of information available in published literature and archival documents. Furthermore, the dissertation calls for a re-evaluation of the conventional definition of work and production in the backdrop of historical experience of market economy’s expansion. The main sources of reference I reviewed for my dissertation are records and reports of various departments, Census reports, and two remarkable survey reports of nineteenth century India: first, Francis Hamilton Buchanan’s “Survey of Bengal,” one of the earliest organized surveys of Bengal Presidency, conducted between 1807 and 1814; the second is W. W. Hunter’s “Statistical Account of Bengal,” conducted in the early 1870s and published in 1877. The dissertation emphasizes the limitation of the conventional definition of production that undermines the wide range of non-marketed production and confines itself to the work done for the market. It offers a description of women manufacturing goods at home for personal consumption, at haat —the local market bazaar, and also in the modern factories. Many women worked for the formal sector while living and working in the unorganized settings of their home and without being entitled to the rights of the formal sector workers. My dissertation offers also a trade-centered account of women home-based workers producing for three important large-scale production sectors of Bihar. These three sectors are: textile, leather, and saltpeter. Bihar was known for its contribution to these three sectors. These three large-scale productions, primarily done for export, of Bengal Presidency, heavily depended on Bihari women home-based workers’ labor. Analysis of the influence of colonial policies on the economy of Bihar with an emphasis upon the specific impact of these policies on women home-based workers is another crucial aspect of my dissertation. One remarkable impact of colonial policies was the transition of Bihar from a state with important production centers and bazaar towns to a labor-supplying state for industrializing Bengal. My dissertation analyzes the impact of this transition of nineteenth-century Bihari labor’s national and transnational mobility with a special focus on the outflow of women laborers from Bihar. By referring to Bihar’s population and sex ratio, the dissertation also estimates the total population of women home-based workers in late nineteenth-century Bihar. My dissertation attempts to explore the dynamics at play that instigated specific demand for women labor at various production sites and the colonial regime’s attempt to respond to this demand through a strategy of reinventing and rejecting feudal institutions like caste and gender norms. It demonstrates how colonial officials, along with Indian elites, especially the Bengali Bhadralok, defamed and dehumanized women workers and pushed them out of the work that could be netted. My dissertation documents how the colonial demand for profit did not only affect the production and trade of commercial goods but also that of the basic goods required for subsistence. The dissertation demonstrates how the onset of mechanized production became the pretext for the market’s installation as the sole determinant of production relation in industrializing England, a model that soon manifested the PaxBritannica. Considering the deep systemic crisis the contemporary world order has been going through for the past two to three decades, I argue that any system that fails to recognize and remunerate the contribution of over ninety percent of the workforce is destined to face a serious systemic crisis. My dissertation emphasizes the need to re-evaluate the definition of work and production and to recognize all marketed and non-marketed production as production. Finally, the dissertation calls for a strong political will to defictionalize the commodification of resources and labor and reclaim them as resources and labor. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)
dc.languageEnglish
dc.sourceDissertations & Theses @ SUNY Buffalo,ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global
dc.subjectSocial sciences
dc.subjectColonial
dc.subjectHome-based workers
dc.subjectIndia
dc.subjectLabor
dc.subjectNeoliberal
dc.subjectUnrecognized
dc.subjectWomen
dc.titleTracing the invisible workers: Women home-based workers of nineteenth century Bihar
dc.typeDissertation/Thesis


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