Covid-19 and the precarity of low-income migrant workers in Indian cities

Jeevan Sharma, Anurag Sharma, Anuj Kapilashrami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Indian cities attract a considerable number of low-income migrants from marginal rural households experiencing difficult economic, political and social conditions at home. Based on fieldwork in Jalandhar and Guwahati, this article focuses on the precarity of low-income migrants in Indian cities. It argues that the concept of precarity, used in the context of migrant labour, should be extended to capture multiple and reinforcing forms of vulnerability, examining the relationship between structural inequalities, including difficult conditions at home, exclusion from public services and poor access to justice. It puts forward a proposition that the widespread media representations of migrant workers returning home in the context of COVID-19 are not simply a result of the sudden outbreak of the coronavirus but that these journeys must be seen as part of the history of the circulatory system of labour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-62
Number of pages15
JournalSociety and Culture in South Asia
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • ethnogrpahy
  • labour
  • migration studies
  • precarity

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