From Dreams to Discontent: Educated Young Men and the Politics of Work at a Special Economic Zone in Andhra Pradesh

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Abstract

India’s free trade zones are imagined by politicians, planners and business elites as ‘engines of growth’ and ‘vehicles of social mobility’. Building upon a body of recent scholarship concerned with ‘post-educational landscapes’ in South Asia I challenge these visions by exploring how investments and achievements in education ‘pay off’ for a new generation of zone workers. Drawing on the biographies of young Telugu men with secondary-level technical qualifications, who are employed to cut and polish diamonds at the Vishakhapatnam Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Andhra Pradesh, I show how the zone is a space in which young men are confronted with the devaluation of their education, their failure to realise local visions of masculine success, and the prospects of their future marginality. These experiences have important implications for the everyday politics of labour, shaping both consent and discontent in the terms and conditions of work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-379
JournalContributions to indian Sociology
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

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