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By examining the wages of migrant workers and local unionised labour in the city of Kochi and adjacent towns in Kerala, the paper demonstrates that ‘wage’ embodies practices and processes. It details the labour practices in a port-building site and in urban spot labour markets for construction work. Wages of local workers and that of migrant workers differ not only in terms of quantity, but also in terms of the processes and practices that surround them. These differences are viewed through the lens of cultural politics and spatial differentiation. We do not know much about the historical formation of wages and of the meanings attributed to them by workers in South Asia. The paper is an attempt to begin a conversation around wage practices in the region and the ideological formation of skill and work.
About the Speaker
Mythri Prasad-Aleyamma is an associate fellow at the Institute for Human development, Delhi. Her research interests primarily revolve around migration and urban transformation in contemporary India. She has a PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi (Centre for Development Studies). Her doctoral work traces the different types of recruitment of migrants and local Malayali workers that reflect political contests and settlements between trade unions, corporate construction companies and recruitment agencies. Among her publications are two book chapters: 'A Market Place for Migrants: Mobility, Settlement and Social Protection in Kerala' (Palgrave Macmillan); 'Territorial Legends: Politics of Indigeneity, Migration, and Urban Citizenship in Pasighat' (Springer) and articles in Contributions to Indian Sociology, Contemporary South Asia and Economic and Political Weekly.
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This is the hundredth and eleventh in a series of Urban Workshops planned by the Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH), New Delhi and Centre for Policy Research (CPR). These workshops seek to provoke public discussion on issues relating to the development of the city and try to address all its facets including its administration, culture, economy, society and politics. For further information, please contact: Olivier Telle of CSH at firstname.lastname@example.org, Partha Mukhopadhyay at email@example.com or Marie-Hélène Zerah at firstname.lastname@example.org