Dissertation Abstracts


Author: DHAL, SAROJ KUMAR, sarojdse@gmail.com
University: UNIVERSITY OF DELHI, India
Supervisor: PROF. (DR.) TULSI PATEL
Year of completion: 2014
Language of dissertation: ENGLISH

Keywords: MIGRATION , INDUSTRY , LABOUR , lifeworld
Areas of Research: Migration , Family Research , Population


This ethnographic study explores the social realities of an industrial setting, especially its township. My thesis is a socio-anthropological understanding and analysis of the everyday lives of migrants in Lucknow city, employed in the PSU (Public Sector Unit) named, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). This study is an attempt to illuminate the intricate meaning of everyday life as perceived by the HAL employees. I draw upon Habermas’s notion of the term life world to study the way in which the migrants’ socio-cultural behaviour is reflected through the institutional (family, marriage, religion etc.) economic and cultural structure of the society in which they live. Through their experience of living in a particular society, (i.e. HAL township of the Lucknow unit) they acquire views and perspectives on the world which colour their attitudes and influence their actions. This ethnography analyses the experiential, performative and lived realities of HAL employees and their families in Lucknow city. It is based on an ethnographic study, comprising of in-depth interviews, participant observation, and a structured interview schedule for the census of the HAL employees residing in the township. With an in-depth field work and constant participation and interaction spanning over two years, I have tried to present HAL’s wider picture through observation and information collected from dawn to dusk. According to Habermas, life world constitutes three different aspects of people’s world i.e objective (discussed in chapter 2), subjective (discussed in a part in Chapter 3 and also in each of the chapters from Chapter 2 onwards) and social world (discussed in second part of Chapter 3, Chapters 4 and 5). I have also tried to relate the three facets of life world of the HAL township residents’ worlds. The objective world is about the external world or factual/objective world, on the other hand their social world constitutes the interpersonal relations regulated by social norms. Additionally, their everyday negotiation and confrontation with the objective and the subjective worlds constitutes the subjective experiences and perceptions of their everyday life in the HAL township. Yes I agree with the fact that there is no water tight compartment between these worlds rather they are interfused. This interfusion is what I mean as the life world of the HAL township. My attempt is to get an insight into the micro and macro level forces guiding individual experiences which is essential to a clearer understanding of the migrants’ life world. In order to catch the perceptions and interpretations of those migrant employee’s life in the HAL setting, the ethnographic approach helps refine and define our construction of day to day experiences, i.e. the everyday life. In order to explore the life world of those migrant employees, I also attempt to discuss the macro level processes influential in the structuring of lifestyles at the local level. This study raises the point of the fluidity in the meaning of the term migrant itself. Interestingly, there is no vernacular equivalent for the English word, ‘migrant’. While exploring the life worlds in the making I have found that the term ‘baaharwale’ is used as per occasion and interaction by the township residents for other residents who are all technically speaking, migrants.