Seasonal Migration and Welfare/Illfare in Eastern India: A Social Analysis
Over 500,000 people are regularly engaged in seasonal migration for rice work into southern West Bengal. This paper analyses social processes at work in the interactions between employers and workers, and the welfare/illfare outcomes. Group identities based on religion and ethnicity are strengthened through the experience of migration and deployed by some migrants to make this form of employment less degrading. In West Bengal seasonal migration can involve practical welfare gains. Importantly, an informal wage floor has been put into place and managed by the peasant union allied to the largest party in the Left Front regime. However, the costs and risks of migration remain high.
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Volume (Year): 38 (2002)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
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