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On Pauperism in Present and Past$
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Jan Breman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199464814

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199464814.001.0001

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Footloose Labouring on the Urban Fringe

Footloose Labouring on the Urban Fringe

(p.168) 6 Footloose Labouring on the Urban Fringe
On Pauperism in Present and Past

Jan Breman

Oxford University Press

This chapter tells the story of landless migrants hanging around on the fringe of the urban economy in Ahmedabad but pushed back again when their employment in the construction industry tapers off with the onset of the monsoon. It argues that the countryside will remain the waiting room for a huge and swelling reserve army of labour which is prevented from flocking to the city space in their attempt to survive. The author argues that a new round of social Darwinistic policies might lead to closing the cities off from a further influx of surplus people in the hinterland for whom there is no steady jobs available. Hidden from public view and locked away in their dispersed rural colonies it would be easier to keep them in check than on the urban front. Out of sight, their massive presence can be ignored and the policy of abandonment keeps them alienated from the citizenry.

Keywords:   footloose labour, migrants, migratory labour, working day, wages, expenditures, embededness

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