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‘Not Quite ‘Enterprising Subjects’: Work, Youth Aspirations and the Limits of Theorising ‘Neo-liberalism’ in India’

November 2, 2018 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

This presentation is about the making of new dispositions to produce apparently new subjects for new kinds of work. My presentation is almost entirely about the acquisition of cultural skills and contexts of ‘emotional labour’ (Hochschild 1983). I will focus on 3 contexts in order to think about new worlds of work that relate to the ‘transmutation of an emotional system’ (Hoschschild 1983). This term refers to the public uses and standardization of emotional life when it becomes a work requirement in a number of service-sector industries. The contexts I look at are: state-sponsored but outsourced ‘skills-development’ centres in Rajasthan and Jharkhand, and, a ‘personality development’ course for potential cabin crew offered by a Delhi-based company. I will outline the training provided within this courses, which is seen as an indispensable part of acquiring a ‘cosmopolitan’ personality, and one that is necessary for economic as well as social advancement. The discussion seeks to explore ideas of ‘transformation’ among state functionaries, trainers and young people in the context of traditional structures of family, gender norms, caste and ‘tribal’ identities. The paper also seeks to interrogate certain ideas around ‘neo-liberalism’, suggesting that training for new forms of work provides an avenue towards critically evaluating the analytical value of the concept.Discipline/Coordinating Entity: Humanities and Social Sciences


November 2, 2018
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
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