Organizing for Empowerment: Exploring the Impact of Unionization on Domestic Workers in India
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBarua, P., & Haukanes, H. (2019). Organizing for empowerment: Exploring the impact of unionization on domestic workers in india. Studies in Comparative International Development, 55(1), 27-47. 10.1007/s12116-019-09291-4
This article seeks to illuminate the impact of unionization on a group of domestic workers in the Indian metropolis of Mumbai. We argue that, as a result of being unionized, these domestic workers have been able to initiate a process of personal empowerment or “power within” which has, in turn, led to changes in how they perceive themselves and their place in the world. These changes which have led to an enhanced sense of self-worth and self-efficacy are related to changes that have occurred in the lives of the women at three levels: gaining formal recognition and social citizenship, experiencing changes in the cognitive domain and emotional habitus, and the development of collective solidarities. We demonstrate how these changes have unfolded in an iterative and mutually constitutive manner. We also argue that, while unionization and being part of collective movement has driven a process of personal empowerment for the domestic workers, this has not necessarily resulted in a willingness by these women to initiate and sustain collective acts of social action around self-defined concerns and priorities.
This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Studies in Comparative International Development. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12116-019-09291-4