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

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The Material and the Symbolic

Intersectionalities of Home-Based Work in India

Capital has an overarching logic of accumulation in general and yet the economic rationale, intercepted by national and local configurations of social power, makes capital unfold differentially in different spaces. The labour market provides an ideal site to interrogate such processes. In India, regional specificities are stark when it comes to the presence of women workers in the public domain, which get significantly obliterated if they are in home-based work. This is because home-based work hinges upon responsibilities of social reproduction and more importantly upon all-pervasive social norms that continue to embed women in traditional constructs of domesticity. It can be argued that in a situation where the market has to become extremely competitive and cost effective, the concept of flexible and cheap labour – the bandwagon of expanding capital – is best articulated through work that is carried out at homes for it can gel comfortably well, in sync with social codes, that assign women to the confines of home even if their status is that of workers.

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