North Sumatra Travel

North Sumatra Travel on Understanding how these spaces connect to and disconnect from each other is crucial for assessing the saturated normative arrangements that pertain in them, their significance for sovereign and governmental powers, the logistical operations that link them to each other as well as into wider global circuits, and the various forms of labor, exploitation, and dispossession they facilitate. Important factors in this regard are the competition between Indian states to attract direct foreign investments (Sharma 2009; Tripathy 2008), the role of development commissioners and other administrative bodies in the governance of these spaces, the use of the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 to acquire the land for such developments as a public purpose (Bhaduri 2007), the displacement of peasant and sharecropper communities (Chakrabarti and Dhar 2010), intergovernmental agreements that facilitate vast infrastructure implementations (for instance, between India and Japan in building the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor), the assignation of differential citizenship rights and their role in the precarization of the workforce (Dey 2010), and the signifi- cance of knowledge work and virtual migration in building up these spaces (Greenspan 2004; Remesh 2004). This is not the occasion to undertake a comprehensive survey of the postdevelopmental rescaling and respatializa-tion of labor and production that has crossed the Indian subcontinent since the economic reforms of 1991 (Sen and Dasgupta 2009). Suffice it to say that there has been a persistence of unorganized and informal work (involving in many instances the incorporation of informal arrangements into the formal sector through casual contracts, etc.), a reinforcement of the sexual division of labor, and a swelling in the ranks of internal migrant workers, particularly those who subsist at the point where the frontiers of capital impinge on urban heartlands and fringes (Samaddar 2009). In spaces such as Rajarhat, where the development of the urban fringe has abandoned all industrial pretensions, these tendencies come together. We thus focus our attention on the experiences and knowledge we garnered in this site as part of the Transit Labour project. North Sumatra Travel 2016.

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