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Coal extraction, dispossession and the ‘classes of labour’ in coalfields of eastern India

Introduction

Drawing upon long term fieldwork conducted in the coalfields of eastern India, the paper argues for the formation of multiple, fragmented and hierarchical ‘classes of labour’ in the ‘new public sector’ coal mines of India. Employing an intersectional lens, it shows that the organisation of ‘classes of labour’ is greatly dependent upon the differentiated negotiating powers for compensatory employments linked to pre-existing land and other social relations shaping up as ‘politics of incorporation’ in mining jobs. It demonstrates the exacerbation of socio-economic inequalities between Dalits, women and dominant caste and class communities in the dispossession process of open-cast coal mining.

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