‘They Used To Go to Eat, Now They Go to Earn': The Changing Meanings of Seasonal Migration from Puruliya District in West Bengal, India

Rogaly, Ben and Coppard, Daniel (2003) ‘They Used To Go to Eat, Now They Go to Earn': The Changing Meanings of Seasonal Migration from Puruliya District in West Bengal, India. Journal of Agrarian Change, 3 (3). pp. 395-433. ISSN 1471-0358

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Abstract

This article uses migrant workers’ testimonies to analyse whether and how much the act of migrating seasonally for wage work has contributed to changing social relations. We investigate changes in the meaning of this kind of
migration to workers involved in it over their working lives. The emergence of peasant capitalism in West Bengal from the 1970s resulted in more days work and higher wages for migrant workers. This made it possible for wage workers to view migration as a way of earning and accumulating a useful lump sum, rather than simply surviving through food payments during the period of work, as had taken place in the past. However, there was no general move away from the compulsion to earn a wage through hard manual labour. Through the testimonies, we explore the ambivalence of migrant workers towards changes in the relations of production at home and at the destination workplace.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: seasonal migration, peasant capitalism, West Bengal, India
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Depositing User: Ben Rogaly
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:20
Last Modified: 02 May 2012 15:08
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/11813
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