The quest for distinction: A reappraisal of the rural labor process in Kheda District (Gujarat), India

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Abstract

In this article I examine how the rural labor process is constitutive of social identity, particularly status, by harnessing empirical evidence from Kheda District, Gujarat, and other parts of India. Emphasis is on the labor practices of the dominant Lewa Patel caste, and only secondarily on the practices of other caste groups. My central claim is that the labor process is a primary arena in which the quest for social distinction occurs and that the primary source of distinction is the ability to withdraw family labor power from the commoditized labor circuit. In this paper I seek to deepen conventional understandings of the labor process within economic geography, agrarian studies, and mainstream economics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-168
Number of pages24
JournalEconomic Geography
Volume76
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

Keywords

  • Caste
  • Devalorization
  • Distinction
  • Gujarat
  • Ideology
  • Labor process

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