Set Adrift: Capitalist Transformations and Community Politics along Mumbai's shores

ISBN : 9780190130244

Gayatri Nair
220 Pages
143 x 220 mm
Pub date
Oct 2021
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The Koli community in Mumbai-which has been practising 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 work spaces. 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, this book looks at how contestations around livelihoods map out in the shadow of significant encounters between capitalism and ecology.


1. Capital and the City
2. A History of the Commons: Regimes of Use and State Intervention
3. The Kolis of Mumbai: Life, Livelihood, and Identity
4. The Other Half of the 'Pink Revolution': Koli Women's Work and Its Discontents
5. The Struggle around Identity: Organizations and Politics of the Kolis
6. Competing Dispossessions: Identity and Class in Fisher Politics
About the Author

About the author: 

Gayatri Nair is Assistant Professor of Sociology, Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, New Delhi, India.

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