Ambedkar, Radical Interdependence and Dignity: A Study of Women Mall Janitors in India

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In this paper, using Ambedkar’s pioneering vision for engaged Buddhism, we developed the notion of radical interdependence, which consists of four interrelated processes: (a) dialogical recognition; (b) negating invisibilities; (c) dignity as an embodied praxis; (d) ordinary cosmopolitanism. Our research primarily focused on women janitors’ lives (N = 20) in a Mumbai Mall using this conception. Our participants experienced four different kinds of dignity injuries (yelling, invisibility, the target of suspicion of theft of valuables, othering). They used various strategies to preserve personal, intersubjective, and processual dignities. We also found horizontal and vertical ordinary cosmopolitanism strategies to bridge social boundaries between colleagues and mall customers. We further discuss the implications of radical interdependence for organizational research.


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