N2
New geographies and imaginaries of work in the Global South [paper]

Convenors:
Garima Jaju (University of Oxford)
Nandini Gooptu (University of Oxford)
Stream:
New geographies of work
Location:
Library Presentation Room
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

The panel analyzes the socio-cultural life of work and 'non-work' in the local context of the Global South, amidst larger global shifts towards increasing political authoritarianism, individual self-responsibilization, and precariousness, and its implications for political imagination today.

Long abstract:

Remunerative work, or its absence, is one of the pre-eminent sites where the larger logic of 'development' is most intimately felt. The panel will critically map how people imagine, search, prepare for, enter, perform, refuse or drop out of work across the continents of Latin America, Africa, and Asia. We invite fresh, empirically rich research that analyzes how the social and cultural life of both work and 'non-work' comes to be experienced in the local context of the Global South, amidst larger global shifts towards increasing political authoritarianism, individual self-responsibilization, and socio-economic precariousness and informalization. Centrally, the panel asks: how in people's engagement with the labor market (shaped by the current political economy structures and its underlining ideological forces) is their sense of self created in socio-cultural, moral and affective terms? Relatedly, how are people's political subjectivities shaped through their experience of work/ 'non-work' and what implication does this have for the larger landscape of political imagination, organization, and action today? Theories of change and analytical insights, as well as empirical accounts, generated in light of experiences in the global North have limited purchase in the global South. The panel seeks to explore innovation in research questions, methodology and analytical frameworks to explain the experience of work specific to the context of the South, paying particular attention to new developments and historical legacies of work in the region, while also tracing patterns of similarity and dissimilarity with the rest of the world in the current moment of contested globalization.