Footloose Labour: Working in India's Informal Economy

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 13, 1996 - Business & Economics - 278 pages
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In a penetrating anthropological study of the working poor in India, Jan Breman examines the lives of those who, pushed out of the agrarian labor market, depend on casual work. By considering two villages in south Gujarat, the author discusses the mobilization of casual labor, demonstrating that this is characteristic of an employment pattern that dominates the rural and urban economy of large parts of South Asia. Elaborating on the social profile of the work migrants, the author shows that little has been done to improve their quality of life, which is defined by caste and class relations.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
The informal sector reconsidered
3
Global setting
11
Account of research and fieldwork
15
Composition of the study
19
Changing profile of rural labour
24
Outmigration for work
32
Sojourners
37
Use of technology
118
Working hours
124
Degradation in the labour process
133
Mode of wage payment and secondary labour conditions
141
Payment
148
The principle of contracting and subcontracting
157
Bondage
162
Secondary terms of employment
170

Seasonal migration
43
Inflow of labour into south Gujarat
49
Industrial labour in the informal sector
57
Rotation in the urban work arena
67
Influx in the rural hinterland
71
Agrarian labour migrants in Gandevigam and Chikhligam
80
Contact between demand and supply
84
Mediation
88
The jobbergang boss as labour broker
93
Debt bondage
101
Quality of the labour process
109
State care for unregulated labour
177
Regulations covering employment in the unprotected sector
186
Implementation
202
Unbinding labour
213
Proletarian life and social consciousness
222
Control and escape
230
Social struggle
243
widening circles of identification
254
Bibliography
265
Index
274
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