This article asks how labour markets are changing in the context of wider transformations in the rural economy. Drawing on evidence from two villages in southern India, which are both close to, and deeply affected by, a major textile industry cluster, the article examines local labour markets, arguing that labour market segmentation is not simply caste-based. While some Dalits from one village have gained access to jobs in export markets, the same group of Dalits from another village have not. Furthermore, different groups of Dalits have had very different experiences of accessing jobs in urban areas, and the article shows that barriers to entry are located more in the rural social economy than in the urban industry. It is argued that villages only a few miles apart have very different local labour markets because they are uniquely and variously embedded in local institutions that interact with economic transformations in contingent ways. The article shows that having an industry on your doorstep means very different things for different people.
Carswell, G. Dalits and local labour markets in rural India: experiences from the Tiruppur textile region in Tamil Nadu. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (2013) 38 (2) 325-338. [DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00530.x]