2018 Social Sciences Winter School in Pondicherry
24/09/2018

The theme for the 2018 Social Sciences Winter School in Pondicherry (SSWSP) will be "Labour and Development".

2018 Social Sciences Winter School in Pondicherry

4th edition

Theme: "Labour and Development"

The Social Sciences Winter School in Pondicherry (SSWSP) has been designed as a programme of intensive and multidisciplinary training workshops addressing theoretical and methodological issues in social sciences research.

Dates: December 3rd to 7th, 2018
Venue: Pondicherry University and the French Institute of Pondicherry
Themes:
 
   The major thread of this 2018 Social Sciences Winter School will be to address societal challenges at the intersection between labour and development.

Only recently, international organisations placed labour in the spotlight of development research and policy making (UNESCO, 2012; World Development Report 2013; Filmeret Fox, 2014; OECD, 2017). However, it is noteworthy that academic and policy studies over the past decades took little hold of the subject to investigate the multifaceted nature of the link between labour and development, notwithstanding a strong interest around labour-related issues (such as forms of workers organisation, involving strike movements and unions) notably in history under Marxist influence from the 1950-60s onwards (Morris, 1965). A possible explanation for this gap in analytical focus and understanding is likely to be found within former dynamics backed by academic and policymaking discourse on development. For example, following the fast capital accumulation-driven transformation of the Soviet Union from a poor agrarian to an industrialised economy, the 1950s were dominated by logics of development via accumulation-driven growth. Labour was seen as an automatic – and homogeneous – complement to capital in this accumulation process. In other words, labour was considered a peripheral component of the development process.

 

By the mid-1960s and throughout the 1970s, the persistence of either open unemployment or under-employment and the incidence of working poor even growing in less developed economies were perceived as indicative of an employment crisis due to acute land shortage in ‘overcrowded farming communities’ and an acute job shortage in ‘overcrowded urban communities’ (Singer, 1970). As a result, the decade saw fundamental developments in academics’ efforts to understand labour market duality from both economic (Harris and Todaro, 1970) and anthropological-cum-sociological perspectives (Hart, 1973). A renewed academic focus on the human input into the development process stimulated an international policy shift in the direction of welfare improvements by investment in health and education. Besides, along the closure of large industries, the late 1980s witnessed a revival in historical studies focusing on the world of work in relation to various themes: cultural and urban-related dimensions, national migration…By the end of the 1990s, when the structural adjustment rhetoric had fizzled out, both national and international policy attention turned towards more holistic approaches to poverty alleviation and redistribution, but it was only recently (in the 2000s) that the virtues of labour for both economic development, poverty alleviation, social emancipation and gender equality came to the fore.

Themes and scientific questionings and approaches to explore the complex relationships between labour and development are now many and call for interdisciplinary thinking. This year, the objectives of the SSWSP are to expose students and young researchers to research frontiers in social sciences on the multifaceted dimensions of labour.

Following the framework of the past editions, the SSWSP will be organised according to three complementary axes:

(a)   Plenary sessions at the beginning of the school: three presentations will introduce different thematic and methodological research on labour studies in social sciences.

(b)   Three thematic workshops lasting four days: issues related to Labour Dynamics: Conceptual, Methodological Perspectives and Focus on India (workshop 1), Gender and Labour (workshop 2), Labour, Informality and Precarity in India’s New Economy (workshop 3), will be addressed from various cross-cutting angles.

(c)  Restitution, discussions, exchanges:participants of each workshop will work on a research designas a group based on the four days of training and make their presentation.

Workshops

Workshop 1. Labour  Dynamics: Conceptual, Methodological Perspectives and Focus on India

Analysing Labour Force Surveys (LFS) is at the core of the analysis of labour in dynamic settings. This workshop will consist of providing the trainees with the essential tool box for working on the various dimensions of labour using LFSs, given official data scarcity and imperfections. The training provides knowledge on how to establish a labour profile to monitor labour conditions. This includes: formal presentations of labour transformation and dynamics in India; identifying the population of interest and collecting labour data through a case study in Tamil Nadu;understanding how to manage a survey using the statistical package STATA; producing and discussing simple labour statistics; identifying vulnerable groups of workers using decent work indicators and, finally, performing basic statistical analysis, such as manipulating earnings and conducting basic analysis of labour indicators. The workshop will end with a group work aiming at designing a research project based on the provided material.

Workshop 2. Gender and Labour  Dynamics

This workshop will take a conceptual and methodological approach on gender and labour-related issues, based on the contributions of labour sociology, development studies and socio-economics. It will mobilise both Indian and French theoretical works and examples, and begin with an analysis of major debates led by the sociology of gender within the discipline of labour sociology. The workshop will study how gender studies have crossed all fields of labour sociology and contributed to renew the definition of labour and its analysis on the basis of the theoretical challenge of articulating the sociology of both labour and family. The objective will be to understand the link between production analysis and gender relations within institutions, and to provide methods to examine practices and skills.Across French and Indian examples, the workshop will thus discuss about the place of women and men at work in social and economic organisations, about gender divisions at work, and about job systems organisation to understand how labour is an effective way to understand gender relations.The workshop will end with a group work aiming at designing a research project based on the provided material.

 Workshop 3. Labour, Informality and Precarity in India’s New Economy

This workshop will explore some of the continuities and changes in the ways in which labour is recruited and deployed, and discuss some of the wider transformations in the nature of India’s capitalist economy that have impacted on existing labour relations. Particular attention will be paid to the ways in which opportunities and constraints are shaped by caste, gender and other markers of social identity. In addition, the workshop will also focus on individual experiences of workers across sectors and industries, and the new – neoliberal – subjectivities that are emerging in the context of new employment opportunities, such as in the IT and service sectors. It will consider more individualised forms of resistance as well as collective forms of organising and action. Finally, the workshop will reflect on the methodology and ethics of researching informal labour in contemporary India, considering the strengths of empirically grounded and ethnographic approaches, as well as the challenges and limitations that they produce. The workshop will end with a group work aiming at designing a research project based on the provided material.

Participants

The Winter School is open to Doctoral and Master Students of all fields in social sciences. Trainees will be selected on the basis of their qualifications, while taking into account the value of the training with regards to their research or professional projects.

The trainers will be from various disciplinary background and the teams will be international, composed of young and senior researchers originating from Indian universities and research centres of excellence, as well as from abroad. It is the result of a long-lasting Indo-French collaboration between Pondicherry University and the French Institute in Pondicherry, with IRD and CNRS in France.

Venue

The plenary sessions will take place at Pondicherry University (School of Social Sciences and International Studies, Silver Jubilee Campus) and the trainings at the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP), from December 3 to 7, 2018.

  Registration 

 These 2 documents should be sent by email to winterschoolpy@gmail.com

  • The registration fees of Rs. 3,000 are payable on arrival (Rs. 700 for Pondicherry University Students)
  • Selected students will be offered accommodation and food in Pondicherry for the duration of the programme
  • Selected students will be offered round trip train fare (Sleeper Class).

Contact

All correspondence should be addressed to the team of coordinators: winterschoolpy@gmail.com

More information and detailed programme will soon be available on the website of the Winter School: http://winterspy.hypotheses.org