Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Political thought in colonial Bengal, starting in the second half of the nineteenth century, could plausibly be characterized as a debate about the social significance of labor. This chapter sketches a rough typology of the different characterizations of the relevance of labor to political thought in the region, distinguishing between (a) the discourse of poverty, in which labor is understood as a source of wealth, (b) the discourse of culture, in which labor is understood as a source of ethics, and (c) the discourse of property, in which labor is understood as a source of rights. The chapter argues that the centrality of the labor question to Bengali political thought in this period should be understood as a recognition of and response to the practical impossibility of imagining political futures without reference to the constraints and possibilities generated by capitalist social relations.

Keywords: Bengal, labor, poverty, culture, property, capitalism

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.