Red salute at work

Brick factory work in postconflict Kailali, western Nepal

in Focaal
Michael Hoffmann Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

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This article examines changing labor regimes in the wake of the Nepalese Maoist revolution through a historical and ethnographic exploration of brick factory in the Kailali district, western Nepal. I argue that the Maoist rebellion has helped to produce a new young, mobile, and urbanizing working class that in the new political context feels increasingly secure in claiming new spaces for its own emerging pleasure, pastimes, and sociality vis-à-vis existing hierarchies and customs. I further show that there is a broad base for solidarities among more and less skilled people within this proletariat, though such solidarity does not yet seem to reach beyond “ethnic” and linguistic boundaries. Highlighting these facets of the transformation of everyday labor regimes in a sociopolitical context that is in a high state of flux and change, the article looks into the consequences of the Maoist revolution in the working lives of ordinary people.

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Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology