Unsettled settlers

Migrant workers and industrial capitalism in Calcutta
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ISBN 9065504184
Auteur(s) Arjen de Haan
NUR codes 680 , 692
Jaar van uitgave 1994
Druk 1
Reeks Publikaties FHKW Rotterdam
Nummer in reeks 17
Bindwijze ing
Aantal bladzijdes 299
    Unsettled Settlers reviews the labour market attracting migrant workers to industrial activity, in particular in the jute industry, in and around Calcutta in the period 1930-1990. The study is based on archival research and sociological fieldwork, carried out in the industrial neighbourhood Titagarh where mills employed over 30.000 workers in the beginning of this century. The workers from outside the province of Bengal (now known as West-Bengal) have remained migrants while retaining their regional languages and identities. Remigration has always been an important phenomenon. 'Unsettled Settlers' are migrants who are drawn to an area of industrial activity, but who continue to return to their birthplace. The study demonstrates the continuous interaction between the industrial centre and the rural environment. The author contends that this that this 'circle migration' is not a result of the business owners' economic strategies, but rather that its primary causes should be sought in social and cultural factors, in particular the restricted mobility of women. Migrants should not solely be viewed as victims of capitalism and the colonial state: there have always been a number of options available to them, and proper understanding of the historical trends requires an assessment of the choices they have made. After an introduction, the author describes the process of migrations - in particular how local labourers are replaced by migrant workers - and its nature, which has always been circular. Then the industrial and demographic development of the city are described together with the influence exerted by rural and regional identities in the formation of the city, the urban labour market and in particular the segmentation of that labour market, and the extent of social-economic mobility.    

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