Reimagining Livelihoods: An Ethnographic Inquiry into Anticipation, Agency, and Reflexivity as India’s Impact Ecosystem Responds to Post-Pandemic Rebuilding
GITIKA SAKSENA LagomWorks ABHISHEK MOHANTY LagomWorks The COVID19 induced lockdown in India and consequent migration of workers severely affected the economy. When the migrants returned to urban areas, newer challenges surfaced around the scale and nature of jobs on offer, as well as the skills and aspirations of workers. In this paper, we follow a social impact project focused on livelihoods and post pandemic rebuilding, to explore the trails of ethnography and how its engagement along multiple networks shapes its possibilities as a research method that helps foreground emic perspectives. In doing so, we analyse agencies and social relations from the field, and their role in shaping project imaginaries. Anchored in original, long-term participatory ethnographic research, our paper thinks alongside Appadurai (2013) to surmise that anticipation is imbricated in the coming together of a grounds-up ‘ethics of possibility’ and a top-down ‘ethics of probability’. Importantly, we turn to Actor-Network Theory as a framework...
Everybody’s a Winner: How Unidimensional Scaling up as an Entrepreneurial Rite of Passage is Beginning to Be Resisted in India’s Startup Capital
GITIKA SAKSENA LagomWorks Consulting & SOAS University of London ABHISHEK MOHANTY LagomWorks Consulting & SOAS University of London Taking India's startup capital Bangalore as its field, the paper researches the absence of conventional scale as a potentially positive emic experience for the entrepreneur. The study leverages a mixed methods approach, employing semi-structured interviews with select entrepreneurs, employees, investors, advisors, and staff from startup-incubators, participant observation at both startups and startup-incubators, textual analyses of business literature, semiotics of popular culture as well as auto-ethnographic reflection by the authors themselves on account of having co-founded a company in Bangalore in 2018, therefore establishing their positionality as ‘an-other’ (Sarukkai 1997, 1408), by ‘thick participation’ (Samudra 2008, 667). The authors examine the current assemblages within the startup ecosystem, to demonstrate that even the dominant and conventional notions of scale have...