Craig Jeffrey

Craig Jeffrey
University of Melbourne | MSD · School of Geography

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61
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Publications

Publications (61)
Article
This article uses long‐term research in rural Uttarakhand, north India, to intervene in anthropological debates on agency. In the period between the early 2000s and late 2010s, many young women in the village of Bemni successfully sought opportunities to pursue their own goals. We highlight the manner in which young women's agency is ‘reformist’. T...
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Scholars are increasingly rethinking the urban, the rural, and the urban–rural binary. This article advances understanding of rural and urban imaginaries through examining how young people in a village in north India develop practices that they regard as “urban” to protect rural futures. Young adults (aged eighteen to thirty) in the village of Bemn...
Article
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This paper uses an examination of prefigurative politics – popularly imagined as ‘being the change you wish to see’ – to reflect on geographies of the future. We argue that prefigurative politics, which has become common since the mid-1990s, typically proceeds through multiple forms of improvisation. Successful prefigurative politics is usually ins...
Article
There has been a recent resurgence of what is often termed “prefigurative politics”: activity in which people channel political effort into demonstrating in the present the types of social relations and practices sought at a future point in time. This paper engages with literature on prefigurative politics through reference to everyday forms of pol...
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This paper draws on qualitative fieldwork conducted in 2004–5, 2010 and 2012 to examine the recent expansion of higher education markets in north India. It focuses on a group of young men who attended university in the city of Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. Faced with dismal job prospects, they began to improvise, making money ad hoc by acting as small-sca...
Article
This paper focuses on ‘prefigurative politics’ – embodying in the present one's vision of the future – among young people in north India. In so doing it contributes to wider debates on oppositional politics, temporality, India and youth. Building on recent fieldwork in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, we highlight the ubiquity of civic-minded everyda...
Article
This paper uses qualitative research in Uttarakhand, India to highlight the vitality of civil society and the involvement of young people in everyday “civic” politics. Much recent academic literature emphasizes the ubiquity of narrowly self-interested patronage politics in South Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as captured in the saying sometimes a...
Chapter
The structural transformation of the Indian economy is incomplete. While the share of agriculture in GDP has declined sharply, its share of the labour force has not. The agricultural economy is still characterised by extensive small-scale household production, and only a small minority of farming households can produce an income sufficient for fami...
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This article examines the social and political significance of the Indian term jugād, which, crudely, means “make do and mend” or “find a way around”—for example, fixing a car fan belt with a pair of tights. Building on research conducted by Craig Jeffrey in 2004 and 2005 in western Uttar Pradesh, we show that a set of lower middle-class “fixers” h...
Article
Akhil Gupta's book Red Tape is a significant study of bureaucratic practice in India, and of its implications for poor people, based on fieldwork in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh carried out in the early 1990s. The way in which the argument is framed, however, obscures the nature of power in India and neglects altogether the significance of p...
Article
This report analyses recent geographical scholarship and young people’s protest around the world in 2010 and 2011 in order to challenge two central themes in literature on politics and civil society. First, I critically examine the idea that young people, especially unemployed youth, are engaged only in a type of romantic, ineffective politics. Sec...
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This paper examines waiting, caste and politics through reference to the cultural and political practices of educated unemployed young men in India. We show through ethnographic fieldwork in Uttar Pradesh how a shared sense of young male limbo sometimes erodes caste divides. While waiting in poorly provisioned north Indian universities, young men d...
Book
Twenty years ago India was still generally thought of as an archetypal developing country, home to the largest number of poor people of any country in the world, and beset by problems of low economic growth, casteism and violent religious conflict. Now India is being feted as an economic power-house which might well become the second largest econom...
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Much of the scholarship associated with the “urban turn” in south Asia has focused on the upper middle class or the poor. This study examines social change through the lens of interstitial places and populations. In particular, it focuses on young men who find themselves “in-between” in multiple senses: between youth and adulthood, the rich and poo...
Article
This report offers a comparative perspective on the nature of youth agency in different parts of the world, demonstrating how ‘youth’ can provide a window on subaltern responses to economic restructuring. I outline key points about the theorization of agency within human geography and then describe the importance of young people’s resistance. I the...
Chapter
And it is also written in the Qur'a¯n Sari¯f, these are the words of the pa¯k Qur'a¯n: "Ta¯li¯mul Qur'a¯n ta'a¯lam, Ala¯mul Qur'a¯n ta'a¯lam." Its meaning is that whoever has read the Qur'a¯n Sari¯f themselves, they should certainly teach it to others. You also obtain s?ava¯b [reward] from teaching. You will receive as much neki¯ [reward for virtue...
Article
Since taking the editorial helm of CSSH in 2006, I have watched several intellectual trends shift and gather momentum. Postsocialist and postcolonial studies are merging into a more generalized interest in the politics of empire. Critical impulses once associated with the “post” approaches have found their way into studies of secularism, conversion...
Article
Youth in IndiaTimepass: Blocked Mobility in Uttar PradeshEveryday Youth PoliticsConclusions References
Article
Social and economic changes around the globe have propelled increasing numbers of people into situations of chronic waiting, where promised access to political freedoms, social goods, or economic resources is delayed, often indefinitely. But there have been few efforts to reflect on the significance of "waiting" in the contemporary world. Timepass...
Article
Global transformations are rapidly altering people’s experiences of growing up. This report offers a comparative perspective on some of the challenges facing young children and youth across the world, focusing especially on young people’s practices in the fields of education and employment. The paper discusses conceptual frameworks for analyzing yo...
Article
Unemployment among educated young men has become a central feature of globalization. In this article, I examine the experiences and strategies of unemployed young men in the north Indian city of Meerut. Many of these men complain that they are “just passing time” (doing “timepass”) in run-down government universities. But they also use this idea of...
Article
Corruption has reemerged as an important issue in research on geography and development, but there has been little research on the relationship between corruption and class reproduction in rural areas of poorer countries. This article presents insights into how low-level economic corruption actually works within institutions that are responsible fo...
Article
In April and May 1996, while conducting doctoral research, I spent a month living in Meerut College, western Uttar Pradesh (UP). In September 2004 a new project brought me back to Meerut, and I was nervous about my return to the college. Would I get on with the new batch of students? What of the age gap that had opened up between my informants and...
Article
Rising unemployment among educated young men is a key feature of neoliberal economic change. This paper reviews recent research on the strategies of educated unemployed young men in the global south to stress the importance of class, politics and environmental transformation for an understanding of contemporary youth geographies. Transnational refl...
Article
This paper uses recent field research to challenge the widely held view that a “Dalit revolution” is occurring in North India. Drawing on two years' ethnographic research in a village in western Uttar Pradesh, the authors uncover the growing importance of a generation of local political activists among Dalits (former untouchables) while also showin...
Article
This paper explores the cultural and economic strategies of educated but un/under‐employed young Muslim men aged between 20 and 34 in a village in western Uttar Pradesh, north India. Drawing on Connell's gender theory, the paper demonstrates how economic and political forces shape Muslim young men's strategies. The paper distinguishes between ‘scho...
Article
In many poorer countries, middle classes are reshaping economic and political life, and nowhere is this process more evident than in postcolonial India. This paper uses ethnographic research on student politicians from rich farming backgrounds to reflect on class 'in the making'. Building on a critical reading of the work of Bourdieu, I document th...
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Full-text available
In South Asia, Muslim reformers have often attempted to ‘rationalize’ and gentrify the everyday behaviour of ordinary Muslims. Yet, despite the existence of discussions of contraceptive techniques in the yūnān-ī tibb curricula of 19th century India and the apparent affinity between rationalism and fertility regulation, contraception was rarely disc...
Article
Telling Young Lives presents more than a dozen fascinating, ethnograph-ically informed portraits of young people facing rapid changes in society and politics from different parts of the world. From a young woman engaged in agricultural labor in the High Himalayas to a youth activist based in Tanzania, the distinctive voices from the U.K., India, Ge...
Article
This article examines the role of school education in reproducing caste and class inequalities in rural Bijnor district, Uttar Pradesh, India. Drawing on Bourdieu’s work, the article shows that a rural elite has used its superior wealth, connections, and social status to ensure that their sons receive privileged access to schooling credentials and...
Article
Scholarly discussions of formal education in the global South are increasingly moving away from a narrow focus on human capital to consider the meanings that people attach to ‘being educated’. This article advances current debates on the social construction of educational value in South Asia by examining how educated Chamar (Dalit) young...
Article
Drawing on fourteen months' ethnographic field research in western Uttar Pradesh among educated Dalit (ex-untouchable) and Muslim young men, this article uncovers a crisis in educated people's access to salaried employment in rural north India. Against the grain of other studies of youth underemployment in postcolonial settings, we argue that educa...
Article
Neoliberal economic and social changes are radically transforming young people’s experiences of youth and early adulthood in many parts of the world. Young people face a greater range of uncertainties than perhaps in any previous era. This introduction sets out some of the key themes within recent social science research on young people as well as...
Article
Abstract This article considers the capacity of formal education to undermine established processes of caste and class reproduction in an area of north India, with particular reference to the views and strategies of educated Dalit young men. It draws on quantitative and qualitative research conducted by the authors in a village in Bijnor district,...
Article
Girls' education has been enduringly controversial in north India, and the disputes of the second half of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century still echo in debates about girls' education in contemporary India. In this paper, we reflect on the education of rural Muslim girls in contemporary western Uttar Pradesh (UP), by examining...
Article
This study contributes to growing research on the links between school and university geography by reflecting on the value of a teachers' conference organised in 2000. Through analysis of feedback from the conference and reflection on how the event has influenced the author's teaching, the paper considers the potential for academic geographers to l...
Article
This paper explores the spatiality of caste and power in contemporary rural north India. I aim to introduce the social institution of caste to a non-specialist audience and illustrate how caste is changing. The paper draws upon Pierre Bourdieu’s notions of social capital and habitus and the India-based research ofSrinivas (1955) andMendelsohn (1993...
Article
Much development literature concerned with state–society relations operates with a simplistic state–people dichotomy. In contrast, this article focuses on the intersection between state and society and argues that this plays an important part in class reproduction in ‘civil society’. This issue is explored with reference to the role of the local st...
Article
Corruption has reemerged as an important issue in research on geography and development, but there has been little research on the relationship between corruption and class reproduction in rural areas of poorer countries. This article presents insights into how low-level economic corruption actually works within institutions that are responsible fo...
Article
In our critique of a recent article by Sudha Pai (CIS vol. 34, no. 2) we argue that she provides inadequate evidence to support her case that there has been a dramatic change in dominance relationships in western UP. We identify problems of evidence in her claims about the significance of rising education of Chamars, and in the consequences of the...
Article
This paper examines how an agrarian elite in Uttar Pradesh (U.P.), India, seek access to the local police force. I argue that rich farmers belonging to the intermediate Jat caste have been quite successful in perpetuating their economic and social advantage through placing relatives in the police force and nurturing political networks that link the...

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