Pakodas, jugad and the vernacular fetish: Youth subcultures in late neoliberal India | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 11 Number 1
  • ISSN: 1756-4921
  • E-ISSN: 1756-493X

Abstract

My article talks about the vernacular in terms of a fantasy relation, drawing on Lauren Berlant’s understanding of love/desire as a fantasy that is always staged through a concrete setting, ‘the place where the subject encounters herself already negotiating the social’. This site of fantasy is moreover the one triggered by the trauma of natal separation. This in-between reality of the vernacular as a lost memory as well as a fantasy of the real makes it an ideal fetish figure for our times. I explain the fetish for the concrete in the context of a post-hegemonic, post-ideological capitalist state that has abandoned its role of catering for the subsistence needs of food, clothing and shelter of its most marginalized people as well as those who are unemployed. The compensatory succour that used to be obtained from the reproductive work of women’s domestic labour is also in crisis, given the commoditization of their care work. My article then looks at the gendered nature of the youth voices and subcultures filling this lack of systematic all-round care through the language of jugad. The valorization of jugad or the positing of concrete solutions to abstract problems actually gives us a lesson in the meaning of abstract labour, as something not merely confined to the realm of labour but to social forms (or use-values) constituted beyond the ambit of the market and judicial structures.

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2020-11-01
2024-02-25
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