Gayatri NairSep 23, 2021
Capitalist Transformations and Community Politics Along Mumbai's Shores
Oxford University Press 2021
The Koli community in Mumbai-which has been practicing fishing for centuries-has experienced rapid changes over the last few decades, in the forms of increased mechanization, export of fish to global markets, and the pressure of urbanization on their living and workspaces. The capitalist transformation in fishing has altered what was once a caste-based practice to one that brought to it investors from outside the community, migrant workers, and ecological degradation. The resultant loss of revenue, jobs, and catch for artisanal fishers has led to movements demanding fishing rights to be granted to traditional fisher communities alone and for a return to older fishing practices. This call found resonance with populist politics in the city: Koli women organized themselves to stridently resist the entry of migrant men into the sector and Koli men-particularly the young-became inclined to move out of the practice of fishing.
Through an examination of the lives and struggles of fishers in one of India's wealthiest cities, Set Adrift: Capitalist Transformations and Community Politics along Mumbai's Shores (Oxford UP, 2021) looks at how contestations around livelihoods map out in the shadow of significant encounters between capitalism and ecology.
Gayatri Nair is Assistant Professor of Sociology, Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, New Delhi, India.
Alize Arıcan is a Postdoctoral Associate at Rutgers University's Center for Cultural Analysis. She is an anthropologist whose research focuses on urban renewal, futurity, care, and migration in Istanbul, Turkey. Her work has been featured in Current Anthropology, City & Society, Radical Housing Journal, and entanglements: experiments in multimodal ethnography.