Rethinking Work – Global Historical and Sociological Perspectives

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Edited by Rana Behal, Alice Mah & Babacar Fall

October 2011

9.75 x 6.5 inches
ISBN: 978-81-89487-85-0
Rs 400

This edited volume brings together global interdisciplinary perspectives on work from different regions of the world, including Europe, Africa and Asia, drawing on both historical and contemporary examples.  The contributions address wide-ranging theme such as work and life cycle , work transformation, precarious work, informalization of work, labour migration, labour conflict and labour relations.The book is timely and innovative in its theoretical, empirical and methodological scope, providing key insights for rethinking work through interrelated global, interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives.

Foreword by Andreas Eckert, Director, International Research Centre ‘Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History’, Humboldt University, Berlin, and Professor of African History.

Rana Behal, Associate Professor, Department of History, Deshbandhu College, University of Delhi, India.

Alice Mah, Assistant Professor in Sociology, University of Warwick, UK.

Babacar Fall, Head of the History and Geography Didactic Department, Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar, Senegal.


The National Movement- Studies in Ideology and History

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Irfan Habib

August 2011

8.5 x 5.5 inches
128 pages
Rs 150

This volume consists of 5 essays on the National Movement that arose to overthrow the British rule in India. 3 of these essays are devoted to the two men, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, whose divergent ideas dominated the National Movement and to different degrees influenced its course. A fourth essay studies in detail how ideas and practice enmeshed to produce the Civil Disobedience Movement in its initial phase, 1930-31, being undoubtedly the most powerful mass agitation organized by the Congress. The final essay studies the contributions made by the Left, especially the Communists, to the National Movement, seeking to fill a gap quite often found in conventional histories.

Irfan Habib is Professor Emeritus of History at the Aligarh Muslim University.

The Making of History- Essays presented to Irfan Habib

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Edited by- K.N. Panikkar, Terence J. Byres, Utsa Patnaik

August 2011
(First published in 2000)

x+ 678 pages
Rs 750

First published in 2000, this festschrift was presented to Irfan Habib on the occasion of his sixty-eighth birthday. As Marxist scholar and historian, Irfan Habib has been a towering presence on the India intellectual scene for over four decades. His truly formidable intellectual reputation, already firmly established in the 1960s with the publication of The Agrarian System of Mughal India, has gained in depth in the succeeding years as the boundaries of professional specialization were broken. Habib’s Intellectual project has broadened to cover the entire area of Indian history, from ancient to modern, and his undiminished commitment to the cause of socialism is reflected in highly original and bold analyses of Marxist historiography and theories of socialist construction.As a mark of esteem and affection for Irfan Habib, scholars in India and abroad have come together to offer him this volume. Thefestschrift reflects the range of Irfan Habib’s interests and contributions in great measure. It includes essays by not only historians but political scientists and economists, not only those specializing in the medieval period but also theorists of modern India, theorists of culture and socialist systems.

K.N. Panikkar was Professor of History at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, until recently. He is now Vice-Chancellor of Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kerala Terence J. Byres is Professor of Political Economy in the University of London and has been teaching at the School of Oriental and African Studies for many years. Utsa Patnaik is Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, where she has been teaching since 1973


All told, The Making of History is a most appropriate tribute to Irfan Habib’s unrelenting commitment to history and the social sciences. Several of the contributions in the volume, one is tempted to suggest, are bound to make history!

– Ashok Mitra, Frontline

Workers, Unions and Global Capitalism: Lessons from India

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Rohini Hensman

June 2011

9.5 x 6.25 inches
xv + 182 pages
Rs 825

While it is easy to blame globalization for shrinking job opportunities, dangerous declines in labour standards and a host of related discontents, the ‘flattening’ of the world has also created unprecedented opportunities for worker organization. By expanding employment in developing countries, especially for women, globalization has formed a basis for stronger workers’ rights, even in remote sites of production.Using India’s labour movement as a model, Rohini Hensman charts the successes and failures, strengths and weaknesses, of the struggle for workers’ rights and organization in a rich and varied nation. As Indian products gain wider acceptance in global markets, the disparities in employment conditions and union rights between such regions as the European Union and India’s vast informal sector are exposed, raising the issue of globalization’s implications for labour.

Hensman’s study examines the unique pattern of ‘employees’ unionism’, which emerged in Bombay in the 1950s, before considering union responses to recent developments, especially the drive to form a national federation of independent unions. A key issue is how far unions can resist protectionist impulses and press for stronger global standards, along with the mechanisms to enforce them. After thoroughly unpacking this example, Hensman zooms out to trace the parameters of a global labour agenda, calling for a revival of trade unionism, the elimination of informal labour, and reductions in military spending to favour funding for comprehensive welfare and social security systems.

Rohini Hensman is a writer and independent scholar based in Bombay. She has published extensively on issues of worker’s rights, women’s rights and the rights of minorities, and is the coauthor of Beyond Multinationalism: Management Policy and Bargaining Relationships in International Companies.


Rohini Hensman’s wide-ranging and provocative argument should be read by all those seeking to understand the lived experience of workers in a globalizing world and the most prominent and promising responses by way of ideas and actions.

— Sanjay Reddy, New School for Social Research

Workers, Unions and Global Capitalism addresses what are unquestionably important topics, with appropriately nuanced arguments. Rohini Hensman is careful to avoid the kind of blanket condemnation of globalization that appears in so much critical literature, and part of her originality is showing very clearly that the problems of the labour movement in India are not the result of globalization, but have a much longer history.

— John Harriss, Simon Fraser University

2011 Releases

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From Capitalism to Civilization: Reconstructing the Socialist Perspective

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Samir Amin

April 2010

xii+ 189 pages
ISBN: 978-81-89487-64-5
Rs. 300

The history of ‘actually existing’ capitalism is one of the conquest and submission of Asia, Africa and Latin America to the imperialist rule of Europe, the United States and Japan. The twentieth century witnessed the first wave of liberation of nations of the South, and the 21st century will see the emergence of a second wave of emancipation of these countries, which will change the face of the world. The simultaneous anti-imperialist dimension of the struggles in these nations will pose a challenge to capitalism. Decisive advances towards socialism in the 21st century will create the basis for a revival of internationalism among working classes peoples of the world, as against the cosmopolitanism of the oligarchies who currently manage capitalist-imperialist globalization.

Samir Amin, born in 1931, is a reputed author of numerous books. He had been an active and committed intellectual associated with liberation movements of Asia and Africa during the Bandung era (1955-80), and is currently Director of the Third World Forum and Chairperson of the World Forum for Alternatives.


“As far as a theoretical exposition and an analytical treatise on the political economy of the planet go, Samir Amin’s From Capitalism to Civilization is remarkably concise.

The reason why this book rises way above the pedantic is the sheer sweep, scope and dimension of Amin’s vision….This reviewer is surely echoing the desires of many other others by saying that we eagerly await Samir Amin’s analysis of the global economic crisis that acquired a spectacular dimension with the collapse of the Wall Street conglomerates in mid-September 2008, when the consequences of the greed and venality of a few spread like contagion, adversely impacting the lives of the underprivileged across the world.”

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Biblio, July-August 2010

Recent Titles

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