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The underbelly of the Indian boom: Adivasis and Dalits

ECSAS Conference, 27-30 July 2016, University of Warsaw

Convenors: Alpa Shah (LSE); Jens Lerche (SOAS, University of London) Discussant: Sangeeta Dasgupta (Jawaharlal Nehru University); Dennis Rodgers (University of Amsterdam)

This panel seeks to explore how and why Adivasis and Dalits remain at the bottom of the Indian social and economic hierarchy

The great divide: Adivasis and Dalits in the Indian underbelly

Jens Lerche (SOAS, University of London); Alpa Shah (LSE)

As social discrimination continues to mark the contours of poverty, we investigate how and why Adivasis and Dalits remain at the bottom of the Indian social and economic hierarchy, drawing on fine-grained field research from across the length and breadth of the country.

Resource capture and exploitation in a Telangana tribal area

Dalel Benbabaali (LSE)

This paper looks at how Adivasi and Dalit lives have been differently impacted by industrialisation in a village located in the Bhadrachalam scheduled area of Telangana to understand the processes of dispossession and proletarianisation that led to the marginalisation of already vulnerable groups.

The alien workforce and the performance of identity: Comparative study of Tamil and Jharkhandi plantation workforce in Kerala’s tea belt

Jayaseelan Raj (LSE)

The paper focuses on how traditional forms of caste hierarchy and other categories of workers’ identity are engaged as a mode of control and discipline to reproduce casualised plantation labour.

“Without the factories we would have nothing”: socially marked livelihood options in a village in a big industrial estate in Tamil Nadu, India

Brendan Donegan (LSE)

The ethnographic material explored in this paper shows how Adivasis and Dalits tend to remain at the bottom of India’s social and economic hierarchy when industry provides new livelihood options in a rural area, but also shows the deeply ambivalent relationship local Dalits have the factories.

Beyond nomadism: (Social) mobility among ST Gaddis and ST Gujjars in Himachal Pradesh

Richard Axelby (LSE)

Against a backdrop of booming India, this paper will provide what is perhaps the first comparison of Muslim STs with Hindu STs as Gaddis and Gujjars in Chamba District (Himachal Pradesh) struggle to negotiate the obstacles which block paths to social mobility.

Sinking or swimming? Caste discrimination in higher education and Dalit students on Campus

Clarinda Still (University Of Oxford)

The student protests surrounding the suicide of Rohith Vemula have raised serious questions about caste discrimination in higher education in India. This paper looks examines the experience of Dalit students in elite institutions and comments on the changing nature of caste discrimination.

Dalit livelihood and (de)mobilisation in Andhra Pradesh: dealing with rising power inequalities

David Picherit (CNRS)

This paper looks at the ways Dalit livelihood and modes of mobilisation have been affected by the transformations of the political factions and their modes of accumulation in Andhra Pradesh, India.