POlitical Work (POWO)

Access to rights, social programs and public policies is a constant challenge, first and foremost for the poorest.
Citizens spend considerable time and energy looking for the right information, filling out documents, negotiating, petitioning, organizing demonstrations and so forth.
These are repetitive, time-consuming tasks that require specific skills and therefore represent a true form of work, mainly (but not only) performed by women.
It is a political work because it supposes a permanent struggle, shapes the State-citizen relations and conditions State accountability.

The POWO project (2023-2025) aims at testing the relevance of the concept “political work”, defining and conceptualizing it in relation to issues of democracy, inequalities and skills, while exploring its policy implications.
This team will draw on the Indian case, where the team has accumulated a vast body of empirical material in various regions and sectors, while testing the applicability of the concept outside India.
Mixing academic and nonacademic partners, the team will combine various registers of knowledge and disciplines (within social sciences).
In the same way that feminist research has reframed our understanding of the economy and modes of accumulation through concepts of domestic work and social reproduction, the concept of political work aims to revisit our understanding of the state, public action and the politics of the poor.

The team is composed by Prof. Kaveri Haritas (JSGP), Prof. K. Kalpana (IITM), Dr Jahnvi Andharia (ISST), Anweshaa Ghosh (ISST), Dr G. Venkatasubramanian (IFP), Santosh Kumar (IFP), Dr Isabelle Guérin (IRD), Dr Rajib Nandi (Sambodhi), and Dr Mahima Tenaja (Sambodhi).


POWO was funded by the IRD programme Young Team Associated with IRD (Jeunes Équipes Associées à l’IRD – JEAI). The JEAI programme aims to encourage and reinforce research teams from Southern countries through partnerships with IRD scientific research units.



Isabelle Guérin,
Université Paris Diderot,
Case courrier 7017,

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