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From ‘Plantation Workers’ to NaukrÄ nÄ«

Supurna Banerjee

Journal of South Asian Development, 2018, vol. 13, issue 2, 164-185

Abstract: The tea plantations of Dooars in West Bengal are founded on a gendered division of labour. The recent economic crisis faced by the tea plantations brought long-established labour practices into question. Mounting expenses and closures led to rising migration of plantation workers to distant urban areas in North and South India, in search of alternative employment. Many of these women found employment as domestic workers and care workers in Delhi and Gurgaon. Drawing on the in-depth narratives of these migrant domestic workers, this article explores self-perceptions and representations of work and brings to the forefront the ongoing process of skill acquisition on the one hand and its constant invisibilization on the other. This reproduces paid domestic and care work not only as women’s natural labour but as low skilled and low status work that is particularly suitable for migrant women. The women’s own perceptions help problematize and nuance otherwise monolithic understandings of labour in general and domestic labour in particular.

Keywords: Gendered labour; skills; in-country migration; domestic work; childcare (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:sae:soudev:v:13:y:2018:i:2:p:164-185