Contingent Civil Society: Adaptive Strategies of Citizenship Contestation Among Internal Migrant Construction Workers in Beijing and Delhi.
I posit that the organizational strength of civil society should not be measured solely by the presence of formalized or legally sanctioned voluntary organizations. The strength of civil society can also derive from organic linkages that emerge spontaneously among individual citizens. I find that, in the absence of voluntary organizations in Beijing, construction workers do the “dirty work” of fighting for their citizenship rights themselves, and as such, learn by doing and share experiences with one another. In contrast, the multitude of voluntary organizations present in Delhi re-route mediations between workers and the state through union representatives, NGO workers, and other civil society middlemen, giving rise to a form of brokered citizenship which does not augment workers’ associational capacity.