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From the Green Revolution to Industrial Dispersal: Informality and Flexibility in an Industrial District for Silk in Rural South India


  • Elisabetta Basile

    () (Sapienza University of Rome, Rome.)


This article explores social production relations in the silk economy of a rural town in South India which has experienced a major process of industrialisation in the post-Green Revolution. Being a market for agricultural products in the 1960s, the town has now become the centre of a manufacturing economy specialised in silk saris. The article argues that, since the Green Revolution, the town's silk economy has been organised as an industrial district, in which competitiveness relies on low labour costs and is enhanced by class and caste stratification and segmentation. Focusing on the relations between the economic organisation of the silk economy and the town's social structure, the analysis is carried out by means of the Marshallian concept of industrial district as theorised by Giacomo Becattini.Cet article s’intéresse aux relations sociales de production dans l’économie de la soie d’une ville rurale de l’Inde du Sud qui connaît un processus majeur d’industrialisation en cette période de post révolution verte. Alors qu’elle était un marché de produits agricoles dans les années 60, la ville est aujourd’hui le centre du secteur manufacturier spécialisé dans la fabrication de saris en soie. L’article cherche à montrer que depuis la révolution verte, le secteur de la soie de la ville en question est organisé comme un district industriel au sein duquel la compétitivité dépend de la présence d’une main d’œuvre peu coûteuse et est renforcée par la stratification et division en castes et classes. Portant une attention particulière aux relations entre l’organisation économique du secteur de la soie et la structure sociale de la ville, l’analyse est effectuée en s’appuyant sur le concept marshallien de district industriel théorisé par Giocomo Becattini.

Suggested Citation

  • Elisabetta Basile, 2011. "From the Green Revolution to Industrial Dispersal: Informality and Flexibility in an Industrial District for Silk in Rural South India," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 23(4), pages 598-614, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:23:y:2011:i:4:p:598-614

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    Cited by:

    1. Amit Basole, 2016. "Informality and Flexible Specialization: Apprenticeships and Knowledge Spillovers in an Indian Silk Weaving Cluster," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 47(1), pages 157-187, January.

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