Neoliberal economic policies are not new to India. While 1991 no doubt marked what Nayar calls a ‘paradigm shift’ from the state to the market (Nayar 2001: 129), processes of economic liberalisation were already introduced - albeit in a stealth-like and patchy manner - from the 1970s onwards (Nayar 2001). Over the last decades, therefore, neoliberal policies have facilitated the development of urban, industrial regions across India, of which the Tiruppur garment cluster in Tamil Nadu, South India, is a typical one. Yet, in a less direct manner, such policies have also brought about far-going transformations in rural society, which to date have been poorly documented, let alone conceptualised. In this paper the authors consider transformations in rural relations of caste and dependency in the Tiruppur region and seek to shift focus in the ways in which the nature and direction of changing rural caste relations are conceptualised and understood within current scholarship.
Carswell, G.; de Neve, G. T-shirts and tumblers : caste, politics and industrial work in Tiruppur’s textile belt, Tamil Nadu. (2011) : 45 pp.