Shades of Civic Activism: State – Labour Relations in India and Ethiopia
How can we understand expansion and contraction of civic space under different political regimes? Research on civil society–state relations has yet to develop a theory that can account for the complexity and variations of their relations and interactions on the continuum between authoritarian and democratic rule. Previous research has commonly adopted divergent theoretical frameworks for explaining civil society – state relations under democratic and under authoritarian rule.
This project explores how different levels/scales of authoritarian and democratic rule shape possibilities for civic action through in-depth case studies of state – labour relations in two countries, one formally qualified as democratic, India, and one as authoritarian, Ethiopia. Taking negotiations around minimum wages as an entry point, we will analyse when and how trade unions have been able to place labour demands on the political agenda and when and to what extend labour demands have been legislated on an adhered to. Drawing on archival data going back to the 1960s and semi-structured interviews will allow us to (1) compare civil society – state relations under different levels/scales of authoritarian and democratic rule, (2) shed light on how the reduction/enlargement of civic space shape possibilities for civic action and (3) understand similarities and differences in civil society – state relations under different levels/scales of authoritarian versus democratic rule.
Principal Investigator: Jenny Jansson (Department of Government)
Funding: SEK 4 451 449 from the Swedish Research Council (Development Research)
Camille Louise Pellerin, Uppsla University
Andreas Admasie, Universiteit Leiden
Silke Neunsiger, Swedish Labour Movement's Archives and Library