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Rethinking Working-Class History : Bengal 1890-1940 - Dipesh Chakrabarty

Rethinking Working-Class History

Bengal 1890-1940

Paperback

Published: 27th August 2000
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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.

"[A] thought-provoking study in Marxist labor history, perhaps the most important monograph since E. P. Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class... This book represents a brilliant effort to connect traditions of post structuralist and Marxist thought in a fascinating tale of working-class protest and organization in colonial Calcutta."--The Journal of Asian Studies "Dipesh Chakrabarty has now made a signal and valuable contribution to the history of the Calcutta jute workers and their industry and has given important guidelines for more searching study of all groups in the working class of India."--American Historical Review "Refreshingly original... The author's clarity and consistency of purpose force one to reflect on the problematic nature of working-class history and the difficulties involved in its conceptualization and writing... Chakrabarty travels consistently and illuminatingly between the warp of theoretical proposition and woof of historical specificity."--Journal of the South Asia Studies Association

List of Tablesp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Abbreviationsp. xix
Intoductionp. 3
Jute: The nature of the Industryp. 14
Of Conditions and Culturep. 65
The Paradox of Organizationp. 116
Protest and Authorityp. 155
Class and Communityp. 186
Conclusion: Rethinking Working-Class Historyp. 219
Glossaryp. 231
Bibliographyp. 233
Indexp. 243
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691070308
ISBN-10: 069107030X
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 27th August 2000
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.36