Rethinking Working-class History: Bengal, 1890-1940

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Princeton University Press, 2000 - Business & Economics - 245 pages
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Dipesh Chakrabarty combines a history of the jute-mill workers of Calcutta with a fresh look at labor history in Marxist scholarship. Opposing a reductionist view of culture and consciousness, he examines the milieu of the jute-mill workers and the way it influenced their capacity for class solidarity and "revolutionary" action from 1890 to 1940. Around and within this empirical core is built his critique of emancipatory narratives and their relationship to such Marxian categories as "capital," "proletariat," or "class consciousness."

The book contributes to currently developing theories that connect Marxist historiography, post-structuralist thinking, and the traditions of hermeneutic analysis. Although Chakrabarty deploys Marxian arguments to explain the political practices of the workers he describes, he replaces universalizing Marxist explanations with a sensitive documentary method that stays close to the experience of workers and their European bosses. He finds in their relationship many elements of the landlord/tenant relationship from the rural past: the jute-mill workers of the period were preindividualist in consciousness and thus incapable of participating consistently in modern forms of politics and political organization.

  

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Contents

JUTE THE NATURE OF THE INDUSTRY
14
OF CONDITIONS AND CULTURE
65
THE PARADOX OF ORGANIZATION
116
PROTEST AND AUTHORITY
155
CLASS AND COMMUNITY
186
CONCLUSION RETHINKING WORKINGCLASS HISTORY
219
GLOSSARY
231
BIBLIOGRAPHY
233
INDEX
243
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Page xiv - de-individualize" by means of multiplication and displacement, diverse combinations. The group must not be the organic bond uniting hierarchized individuals, but a constant generator of de-individualization.
Page 6 - I would call genealogy, that is, a form of history which can account for the constitution of knowledges, discourses, domains of objects etc., without having to make reference to a subject which is either transcendental in relation to the field of events or runs in its empty sameness throughout the course of history.

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