ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

The Factory and the Farm: Rural Analogues of Managerialism in Ahmedabad and Beyond.


Wani Kena - Jindal Global University, Sonipat, India


41 – Managerialism and the Transformation of Indian Capitalism in the Mid-Twentieth Century: The Experience of Ahmedabad


 This paper will study the experiments and projects conducted by a team of textile industrialists from Ahmedabad (India), UN sponsored developmental pedagogues, and Ford Foundation consultants in the field of industrial management. It will follow their activities across the rural and urban regions of western India in the first three decades of independence. The first half of the paper will track certain experiments on efficiency and productivity in the factory sheds of Ahmedabad. The second half of the paper will reveal how this Ahmedabad based global network of technological, developmental, and managerial experts spilled over to the Indian countryside and in the process produced peculiar ‘managerialist’ reflections on the social constitution of the ‘village society.’ I will particularly focus upon the idiom of ‘problem-solving’ and trace the movement of such ideas from the factory sheds in the city to the western Indian countryside. On a broader stroke, the paper will aim to understand how these managerialist ideas emerging specifically from the world of big business and industries interacted with the concerns of the postcolonial developmentalist state.