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Labour-power and bossing : local leadership formation and the party-state in 'middle' Bangladesh

Julian Kuttig (UGent)
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Abstract
Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork, this article focuses on how public order and authority is produced in ‘middle Bangladesh’ by investigating the political emergence and political persona of a bus labour federation (BLF) leader in Rajshahi city. The BLF is an important source for ‘muscle’ and ‘money’ power and is commonly denoted as ‘labour mafia’. Its leaders, often referred to as mastan (gangster, enforcer) or neta (leader, career politician), hold considerable power, especially where buses are the most important mode of transport. Having the capacity to bring the city to a standstill makes leaders conspicuous actors in the political power structure across the country. I examine how such leaders manoeuvre in a political system referred to as a ‘party-state’. Unlike most other labour unions, the BLF is not an organisational wing of political parties or the state, but an ‘autonomous’ and rather capricious power base that is nonetheless inextricably linked with local politics, crime, and ‘the state’.
Keywords
labour union, party politics, party-state, Bangladesh, public authority, public order, POLITICS, AUTHORITY

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Citation

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MLA
Kuttig, Julian. “Labour-Power and Bossing : Local Leadership Formation and the Party-State in ‘middle’ Bangladesh.” CONTRIBUTIONS TO INDIAN SOCIOLOGY, vol. 54, no. 2, 2020, pp. 193–214, doi:10.1177/0069966720911732.
APA
Kuttig, J. (2020). Labour-power and bossing : local leadership formation and the party-state in “middle” Bangladesh. CONTRIBUTIONS TO INDIAN SOCIOLOGY, 54(2), 193–214. https://doi.org/10.1177/0069966720911732
Chicago author-date
Kuttig, Julian. 2020. “Labour-Power and Bossing : Local Leadership Formation and the Party-State in ‘middle’ Bangladesh.” CONTRIBUTIONS TO INDIAN SOCIOLOGY 54 (2): 193–214. https://doi.org/10.1177/0069966720911732.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Kuttig, Julian. 2020. “Labour-Power and Bossing : Local Leadership Formation and the Party-State in ‘middle’ Bangladesh.” CONTRIBUTIONS TO INDIAN SOCIOLOGY 54 (2): 193–214. doi:10.1177/0069966720911732.
Vancouver
1.
Kuttig J. Labour-power and bossing : local leadership formation and the party-state in “middle” Bangladesh. CONTRIBUTIONS TO INDIAN SOCIOLOGY. 2020;54(2):193–214.
IEEE
[1]
J. Kuttig, “Labour-power and bossing : local leadership formation and the party-state in ‘middle’ Bangladesh,” CONTRIBUTIONS TO INDIAN SOCIOLOGY, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 193–214, 2020.
@article{8635969,
  abstract     = {{Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork, this article focuses on how public order and authority is produced in ‘middle Bangladesh’ by investigating the political emergence and political persona of a bus labour federation (BLF) leader in Rajshahi city. The BLF is an important source for ‘muscle’ and ‘money’ power and is commonly denoted as ‘labour mafia’. Its leaders, often referred to as mastan (gangster, enforcer) or neta (leader, career politician), hold considerable power, especially where buses are the most important mode of transport. Having the capacity to bring the city to a standstill makes leaders conspicuous actors in the political power structure across the country. I examine how such leaders manoeuvre in a political system referred to as a ‘party-state’. Unlike most other labour unions, the BLF is not an organisational wing of political parties or the state, but an ‘autonomous’ and rather capricious power base that is nonetheless inextricably linked with local politics, crime, and ‘the state’.}},
  author       = {{Kuttig, Julian}},
  issn         = {{0069-9659}},
  journal      = {{CONTRIBUTIONS TO INDIAN SOCIOLOGY}},
  keywords     = {{labour union,party politics,party-state,Bangladesh,public authority,public order,POLITICS,AUTHORITY}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{2}},
  pages        = {{193--214}},
  title        = {{Labour-power and bossing : local leadership formation and the party-state in 'middle' Bangladesh}},
  url          = {{http://doi.org/10.1177/0069966720911732}},
  volume       = {{54}},
  year         = {{2020}},
}

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