The Stickiness of Tea Garden Workers’ Situation in Assam, India




Tea garden workers in Assam, India continue to face precarious living and working conditions which have led to recent protests by workers’ unions and student organisations in Assam. This study examines a survey of over 3,000 tea garden worker respondents in three locations across Assam to understand the material realities of these workers and their families. The authors employ a concept that they term ‘stickiness’, drawing on the work of James C. Scott (1976) and Anna Tsing (2005), to describe the theorised interplay between the living and working conditions of plantation life and the vulnerability of the workers. Empirical findings are organised and presented using descriptive statistics around problem areas that provide a broad understanding of the living and working conditions of tea garden workers in Assam. The study also identified a rise in trafficking amongst tea garden families. This study concludes with recommendations from the researchers and partner organisations, as well as intentions for future inquiry.

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Copyright © 2022 © 2022 Council for Social Development. This article first appeared in Social Change, 52(4), 541–564.

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