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.
Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Daniele Cantini.
Daniele Cantini is a senior research fellow at the research cluster “Society and Culture in Motion” at the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. His doctoral dissertation dealt with the Jordanian university system and its students. Currently, he is editing a volume on ethnographies of private universities.
This research takes the university as a vantage point to look at continuities and changes in the ways in which youth in Egypt and Jordan is socialized, citizenship is built, and differences are created and sustained. Both Egypt and Jordan witnessed a post-colonial nationalist and more or less socialist state, in which the function of the few state universities was clearly to serve the state in its efforts to modernise the country and its citizenry. This trajectory was ultimately altered in the ’90s, when the effects of the new international economic policies and the changes in the demographic composition of the countries contributed to erode the role of the state in providing employment and sense of belonging. These pushed for new directions in university policies–opening up to private universities, also of foreign origin, and partial privatizations within the public ones that were becoming less and less able to fulfil their roles. Through an ethnographic analysis of how the university concretely works, the project looks at this crucial institution to try to make sense of the most recent changes in its governance. Here the interest lies in understanding the different contexts, the local and the global, and their numerous intersections and conflicts. This project then looks at how all these affect the lives of youth. It explores in particular three dimensions of youth´s subjectivity, namely the political, the religious and the social (their place in the wider society as reproduced within the microcosm of the university campus and life).