The ‘Embourgeoisement’ of a ‘Proletarian Vanguard’?

Jonathan Parry

in Interrogating India's Modernity

Published in print August 2013 | ISBN: 9780198092070
Published online January 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780199082704 | DOI:
The ‘Embourgeoisement’ of a ‘Proletarian Vanguard’?

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Based on his long drawn fieldwork, Parry shows how in the world of the regular company employees of the public sector Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) class have largely displaced caste as the dominant axis of stratification and determinant of life chances. The distinction between manual and non-manual labour is an ideologically less salient marker of class difference than the distinction between formal sector naukri and informal sector kaam. The aristocracy of BSP labour has increasingly become a (not unproblematically) self-reproducing stratum that should now be regarded as middle class. They increasingly have typically middle class lifestyles and consumption patterns as well as middle class values and orientations. To describe them as being in the same ‘class situation’ as those they refer to as ‘labour class’ would in their view of themselves be a travesty, and in that they are largely right. This has had profound consequences for the extension of citizenship rights to the overwhelming majority of the working population.

Keywords: Bhilai Steel Plant; middle class; labour class; clerks; affluence; proletarian vanguard; embourgeoisement

Chapter.  15336 words. 

Subjects: Social Theory

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