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Bhattacharya, Snehashish, Kesar, Surbhi and Mehra, Sahil (2023) 'Exclusion, Surplus Population, and the Labour Question in Postcolonial Capitalism: Future Directions in Political Economy of Development.' Review of Political Economy, 35 (1). pp. 145-173.

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In this expository essay, we argue for building a fresh research programme in the political economy of development to analytically investigate and empirically substantiate the specificities of postcolonial capitalism. A key theoretical framework developed through the work of Kalyan Sanyal may be built upon, reformulated and productively deployed for this purpose. We provide a purposive engagement with this framework, its critiques, and the extant literature that develops it further. Some illustrations based on the agricultural and non-agricultural informal economies in India are provided to highlight the significance of this framework in examining the contemporary processes of capitalist development in the global South. The informal segments are marked by a persistence and reproduction of large swathes of non-capitalist economic spaces that are majorly structured around the logic of satisfying consumption needs, without discernible tendencies towards a classical pattern of capitalist transition. These spaces act as holding grounds of the population that is excluded from the capitalist growth poles of the economy and are often rendered as an undesired excess (as a surplus population) for the process of capitalist reproduction. Such a framework may also provide a compelling theoretical structure to interrogate the vast economic and political changes in the global landscape in the current conjuncture, and their implications for labour.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Postcolonial capitalism, agriculture, informality, surplus population, non-capitalist reproduction
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Economics
ISSN: 09538259
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2022 11:18

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