SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Dalits and Adivasis in India's Business Economy

Professor Barbara Harriss-White

Date: 22 April 2014Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 22 April 2014Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B320

Type of Event: Book Launch

India’s founding fathers and neo-liberalisers alike expected economic development to dissolve ‘archaic’ forms of exchange, but the modern Indian economy remains embedded in caste relations. At the base of the caste hierarchy are formerly untouchable and tribal workers. But a growing minority of dalits and adivasis have been incorporated into the Indian economy not as workers but as owners of firms. The Atlas shows the striking and consistent regional and sectoral differences in the way dalits and adivasis have been incorporated into 14 occupational sectors of the business economy at both state and district levels of resolution over the period 1990 – 2005. Explaining these differences and some adverse trends during the era of globalisation is a task that the three essays accompanying the Atlas attempt to begin. Using contemporary field research, dalit narratives and statistical data they explore the dalit experience of disadvantageous entry into markets, the state and civil society; their adverse experience of business associations regulating markets; and the surprisingly distinctive patterns of regional disadvantage that dalit and adivasi businesses suffer. This unusual book is a ‘must-read’ for everyone concerned with India’s development and social justice. It also generates an agenda for a new wave of activist- researchers.

Organiser: Dr Alessandra Mezzadri

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