Dispossession and Social Theory: Comparing the Politics of Land and Labor

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 10:45 AM
Room: 301
Oral Presentation
Michael LEVIEN , Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
This paper draws on over two years of ethnographic research on anti-dispossession struggles in India to analyze how the politics of land dispossession differs from the politics of labor exploitation. Based on this comparison, it tries to show how core features of Marxian social theory—including  theories of the state, ideology, and historical agency—must be reconstructed in light of the recognition that dispossession is an ongoing feature, and not simply a historical precondition, of capitalist development. The paper concludes with reflections on the possibilities for creating alliances between land and labor struggles.