Accepted paper:

Shifting masculinity and the reproduction of Orthodoxy: A case of truck drivers in India

Authors:

Indrani Mukherjee (University of Delhi)

Paper short abstract:

The lives of trcuk driver's in India is governed by constant mobility through multiple social systems. The present paper analyses how shifting masculinity helps the truckers negotiate everyday life and leads to the reproduction of the Orthodoxy.

Paper long abstract:

The Indian economy is being talked of in the same breath as other more mature economies, however, the country's logistics supply chain that transports its economic produce, remains utterly unorganised and convoluted. Unlike the US and Europe where hauling a freight carrier over long distances is seen as skilled employment, India's large population, high poverty and insipid law enforcement mean driving a truck is for those who do not find employment elsewhere. This often forces the long distance truck drivers away from their homes and on to the truck for long hauls of 8-10 month periods. It also brings into its realm boys as young as the age of 13-15 and at times even younger, who join as cleaners under a driver and continue living on the truck with the driver to learn the ticks of the trade (and eventually become drivers). The master-apprentice relation is no less regimented than a prison or an army boot camp, especially in relation to power dynamics. The present research analyses the lives of truck drivers for their relational hierarchy within the transport industry, with the state, as well as back home. It situates social relations with reference to the ideas of hegemonic and protest masculinity, its reproduction and perpetuation in everyday life and looks at the idea of shifting masculinity with respect to space and time in maintaining the Orthodoxy.

panel P037
Critical feminism and the politics of austerity: gender regimes and the making of economic orthodoxies