ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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How Places Matter

The paper looks at the phenomenon of forced resignations in the garment industry in Karnataka during the pandemic. It demonstrates how workers’ responses to forced resignations were determined by whether they were located in the city (Bengaluru) or a small town (Srirangapatna) and calls for an engagement with the local geographies to understand the experiences of women garment workers.

Migration, Skilling, and Employment in Bengaluru’s New Service Economy

This paper summarises the key findings of an extensive research study recently completed in the Bengaluru and Raichur districts of Karnataka. Against the backdrop of the Skill India policy, the research focused on skill development centres that mobilise rural youth to undergo training and facilitate their entry into the lower rungs of the new service economy. While the organised services account for an increasing share of urban employment, the study found that such jobs are unlikely to lead to economic or social mobility. Instead, low wages, insecure tenure, and economic hardships in the city push service workers to switch jobs or return to their villages. The unregulated and precarious nature of work in organised services creates a fluid and unstable workforce, thus raising questions about the hegemonic skills paradigm and India’s development trajectory.

(Un)truth Technologies to Subvert Justice

The Truth Machines: Policing, Violence, and Scientific Interrogations in India by Jinee Lokaneeta, Orient BlackSwan, 2020; pp xiii + 250, price not indicated.

Migrant Children and ‘Free’ Education in India

Schooling of migrant children in India is compromised for various reasons, such as their mobility, disadvantaged backgrounds, and exclusionary experiences of schooling. Such contexts and experiences of migrant families and children are in stark contrast to how their aspirations and motivation are dominantly imagined by education functionaries of the state and the non-governmental organisations. Using narratives from the city of Bengaluru, this article throws light on the aforesaid discord, thereby highlighting the complex placement of migrant children with respect to inclusionary frameworks of schooling and education in India.

Deploying Cultural, Social and Emotional Capital

This paper examines the experiences of Anglo-Indian women teaching in Bengaluru’s English medium private schools to understand how they negotiate professional constraints by drawing on Diane Reay’s feminist extension of Pierre Bourdieu’s “forms of capital.” It argues that her concept of “emotional capital” can be used to explain how interviewees attempt to overcome their limited cultural and social capital. We also suggest that Arlie Hochschild’s notion of “emotional labour,” distinct from Reay’s emotional capital, when deployed alongside the latter, highlights the complex negotiations that interviewees undertake. In doing so, this work attempts to contribute a minority perspective to research on schoolteachers’ lives. In the process, it also seeks to extend emotional capital (a concept Reay deployed to explain mothers’ investment in their children) to understand women’s professional experiences.

Photo Essay: A Study of Contrasts in Bengaluru’s ‘High-tech’ Zone

Bengaluru has earned the moniker of “Silicon Valley of India,” but this glosses over a reality that is defined by poor infrastructure, air and water pollution, and unmanaged waste.

Numbing Machines

What forms does manual scavenging take after its legal abolition? Analysing the recent deaths in Bengaluru’s sewage treatment plants and underground drainage systems, the understandings of manual scavenging as an “archaic” practice and opposed to the “rule of law” are rejected. The contractualisation of sewer maintenance instrumentalises “untouchable” bodies, making the calibration of caste power coincidental with the calibration of urban sewerage. Urban manual scavenging is shown to be an emergent application of caste power that resolves ecological impasses in contemporary sewerage. The objectification of caste power in urban infrastructures nevertheless opens up new locations for politicising normative caste embodiment.

How Has Municipal Red-Tape Led to Waste Being Mismanaged in Bengaluru?

Bengaluru has been depending on ad-hoc service providers to meet its waste management requirements, which has allowed "garbage mafias" to flourish.

Changing Contours of the Political Regions of Karnataka

Media reports of the recent Karnataka assembly elections tended to see the state as made up of distinct regions and marked their boundaries to accord with the political–administrative territories prior to their unification in 1956. While a residual presence of regional identity still persists overdetermining class, caste and community relations, linguistic and speech practices, religious and cultural sensibilities, politically, the region has come to mean very different things in the electoral battlegrounds of the state. In recent years, equations across castes and communities have been recast precipitating intense social churning and political realignments within and across regions of yore.

‘It Has to Be Done Only at Night’

India’s National Urban Sanitation Policy and its flagship programme, the Swachh Bharat Mission, strongly recommend mechanical technologies for safe faecal sludge management. But, how do septic tank cleaners live and work, and why are their practices not “safe”? An evening spent in observation of their work and in conversation with cleaners and truck drivers in Bengaluru is recounted.

Urban Transport Planning in Bengaluru

Transport planning in Bengaluru is characterised by institutional fragmentation, increasing private modes of transport, and questionable investment decisions in the transport sector. What are the possibilities of implementing a polycentric governance system in such a city? Answering this question requires exploring the characteristics of polycentric governance systems as part of the larger discourse in institutional economics and reflecting upon how far Bengaluru satisfies such characteristics and where changes may be required.

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