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)

Period: 2020–2023

Funding: SEK 4 451 449 from the Swedish Research Council (Development Research) 

Jenny Jansson

Senior lecturer/Associate Professor at Department of Government, Faculty

Email:
Jenny.Jansson[AT-sign]statsvet.uu.se
Telephone:
+4618-471 3331

researcher at Staff Unions, The Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees; ST inom universitets- och högskoleområdet, 214-01 sektionen vid Uppsala universitet

RESEARCH TEAM

Camille Louise Pellerin, Uppsla University

Andreas Admasie, Universiteit Leiden

Silke Neunsiger, Swedish Labour Movement's Archives and Library