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Footloose Labour


  • Breman,Jan


In a penetrating anthropological study of the working poor in India, Jan Breman examines the lives of those who, pushed out of the agrarian labour market, depend on casual work. Beginning his local-level research in two villages in south Gujarat, the author discusses the mobilisation of casual labour, which is hired and fired according to the need of the moment, and transferred for the duration of the job to destinations far away from the home area. His case-study reveals that the circulation of labour is indicative of an employment pattern which dominates both the rural and urban economy of large parts of South Asia. Elaborating on the social profile of the work migrants, the author argues that their identity is shaped by both class and caste relations and, despite action by state agencies, nothing of significance has been achieved to improve their quality of life.

Suggested Citation

  • Breman,Jan, 1996. "Footloose Labour," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521560832, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:cbooks:9780521560832

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    4. Srijit Mishra, 2007. "Agrarian Scenario in Post-reform India - A Story of Distress, Despair and Death," Development Economics Working Papers 22338, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    5. Swaminathan, Madhura, 1998. "Economic growth and the persistence of child labor: Evidence from an Indian city," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(8), pages 1513-1528, August.
    6. Mitra, Amit., 2002. "Training and skill formation for decent work in the informal sector : case studies from South India," ILO Working Papers 993571193402676, International Labour Organization.
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    8. Prabir C. Bhattacharya, 2000. "An analysis of rural-to-rural migration in India," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(5), pages 655-667.
    9. Amit Basole, 2014. "Informality and Flexible Specialization: Labour Supply, Wages, and Knowledge Flows in an Indian Artisanal Cluster," Working Papers 2014_07, University of Massachusetts Boston, Economics Department.
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    17. Mamgain, Rajendra P., 2004. "Employment, migration and livelihoods in the Hill Economy of Uttaranchal," MPRA Paper 32303, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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