This book analyses India’s middle class by recognising the diversity within the class, the people, their practices, and the production of spaces.
It explores the economic and social lives of the new middle class, expanding the areas of inquiry beyond consumption in post-liberalisation India and its intersectionalities with gender, caste, religion, migration, and other socioeconomic markers in various cities across the country. The book interrogates the meanings and perceptions of social mobility, growth, consumerism, technology, social identity, and development and examines how they can be emancipatory or subjugating in different contexts. It engages with the new entrants in the middle class, particularly from the marginalised sections, their struggles, insecurities, anxieties, agency, and experiences. The personal, emotive, and psychic dimensions of social mobility have been dealt with in the larger context of socioeconomic settings. The book crosses disciplinary and spatial boundaries and uses a variety of methodologies to provide perspectives on several unexplored or underexplored areas of India’s new middle class.
This book will be of interest to scholars and researchers of sociology, economics, development studies, public policy, social work, and South Asian studies.
Table of Contents
List of Figures. List of Tables. Notes on the Contributors. Preface. Abbreviations.1. Contextualising India’s New Middle Class: Intersectionalities and Social Mobility Part I: Social Mobility and the Making of New Middle Class 2. Risk, Trust and Social Networks: A Study among Middle Class Nair Families near Technopark, Kerala 3. Muslim Middle Class in India: Size, Diversity, and Correlates 4. Dalit Desires, Middle Class-ness and the City of Surat Part II: Middle Class, Urban Poor, and Migrants: A Complex Interface 5. The Middle Class and the Migrant: Contention in the City 6. In the Pursuit of Middle Class-ness: Exploring the Aspirations and Strategies of the Urban Poor in Neoliberal Delhi 7. Politics of Dark Rooms and Neurotic Urbanity through Padmanabhan’s Lights Out Part III: Middle Class in the Regional Landscape 8. The Kashmiri Middle Class and its Everyday Politics 9. Of Imported SUVs and Buying the ‘Last Supper’ in Milan: ‘New Middle Class’ and its Crisis of Hegemony in India’s Northeast 10. The ‘Threshold People’: Narrating Middle Class Lives in Neoliberal Kolkata 11. Doing Good, Being Political: Middle Class Bhadralok Narratives from Neoliberal India Part IV: New Middle Class: Exploring Technology, Identity, and Spaces 12. ‘Cyborgs’ or ‘House elves’? WhatsApp Mothering in a Greater Mumbai Suburb 13. Work-from-home for Bangalore’s New Middle Class Women: No Future ‘Workplace’ for Women? 14. ‘The One-Dimensional Man’: Unravelling Identity of a New Indian Subject. Index.
Manish K Jha is professor of community organisation and development practice, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. His research interests include migration, disaster response, middle classes, poverty, social policy, and social justice.
Pushpendra is professor and chairperson of the Patna Centre of Tata Institute of Social Sciences. His research interests include agrarian relations, informal labour, migration, and social policy.