The Archive of Loss

Lively Ruination in Mill Land Mumbai

Book Pages: 264 Illustrations: 49 illustrations Published: April 2019

Subjects
Anthropology, Asian Studies > South Asia, Sociology > Urban Studies

Mumbai's textile industry is commonly but incorrectly understood to be an extinct relic of the past. In The Archive of Loss Maura Finkelstein examines what it means for textile mill workers—who are assumed not to exist—to live and work during a period of deindustrialization. Finkelstein shows how mills are ethnographic archives of the city where documents, artifacts, and stories exist in the buildings and in the bodies of workers. Workers' pain, illnesses, injuries, and exhaustion narrate industrial decline; the ways in which they live in tenements exist outside and resist the values expounded by modernity; and the rumors and untruths they share about textile worker strikes and a mill fire help them make sense of the industry's survival. In outlining this archive's contents, Finkelstein shows how mills, which she conceptualizes as lively ruins, become a lens through which to challenge, reimagine, and alter ways of thinking about the past, present, and future in Mumbai and beyond.

Praise

“A wonderful critique of deindustrialization, archives, and the afterlives of the great mills of Mumbai, this book is a timely contribution to thinking on temporality, loss, space, and affective entanglements within rapidly changing cities across South Asia. Maura Finkelstein seeks nothing less than to reveal how ideas and spaces are translated into places. This thoughtful view of a key site of Mumbai's ongoing transformations is essential reading for scholars of the city in uncertain times." — Svati P. Shah, author of Street Corner Secrets: Sex, Work, and Migration in the City of Mumbai

"In this beautifully written and rich ethnography, Maura Finkelstein demonstrates that the dynamics contributing to industrial job loss crosscut regions, countries, and cities. Her book offers highly compelling theoretical insights on memory, embodiment, and urban space and will lead to a much-needed rethinking of deindustrialization itself." — Christine J. Walley, author of Exit Zero: Family and Class in Postindustrial Chicago

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Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Maura Finkelstein is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Muhlenberg College.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii
A Note on Intimate Geographies  xi
Introduction: The Archive of Industrial Debris  1
1. The Archive of the Mill  29
2. The Archive of the Worker  57
3. The Archive of the Chawl  85
4. The Archive of the Strike  117
5. The Archive of the Fire  149
Epilogue: The Archive of Futures Lost  181
Notes  193
References  225
Index  247
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0398-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0368-7
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