Working Class Youths and Education in Post-Industrial Mumbai

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Sumeet Mhaskar.

Sumeet Mhaskar is an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies, University of Göttingen. He is currently working on a project that examines rural urban linkages in globalising Mumbai city with a particular focus on rural labour migrants’ urban experience.

During the last two decades of the 20th century large scale industrial closures took place in major Indian cities such as Ahmedabad, Kanpur, Kolkata and Mumbai. The industrial closures resulted in the retrenchment of a large amount of workforce as well as a sharp decline in the employment opportunities in the formal manufacturing sector. The implications of industrial closures on the workforce and to a certain extent on their families have received significant scholarly attention. However, there remains a major gap in the literature that investigates the implications of industrial closure on working class youths’ educational and occupational attainment. Whilst studies have hinted at the negative implications of workers’ retrenchment on their children’s education and overall life chances this aspect remains largely understudied. This project aims to fill this gap by examining both working class youths’ educational attainment as well as their occupational choices. In order to explore this phenomenon this project relies on the quantitative survey data of 924 ex-millworkers families that was collected during 2009 and qualitative interviews with ex-millworkers children, workers, trade unionists, school teachers and social and political activists. In addition, personal documents, biographies, relevant reports have been consulted.


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