Dynamics of labour relations across different circuits of globalisation: evidence from garment making and cashew nut processing circuits in Kerala

National Institute of Advanced Studies

Indian Institute of Science Campus



Title: Dynamics of labour relations across different circuits of globalisation: evidence from garment making and cashew nut processing circuits in Kerala 

Candidate:   Ms. Asha K G
School of Social Sciences

Adviser:  Prof. Narendar Pani

Date:  Wednesday, 18 November, 2015

Time:  11: 30 am

Venue: Lecture Hall, NIAS


Abstract: Cross-border production circuits examine flows of resources (e.g. labour, capital & goods) and value addition across various geographical locations. Studies have explored the increasing feminisation, rising informalisation, flexibilisation and imposition of labour standards in the global production centres. The scope of such studies is limited to the workplace dimensions of the effects of globalisation. For example, the scarcity of labour in one resource point can be offset by temporary internal migration from other surplus regions within national borders. These interconnections need to be explored to develop a more spatially refined analysis of the global circuits. The present study of the local resource points of the global garment and cashew circuit from Kerala is an attempt in this direction. The concept of ‘Secondary Circuits’ has been coined to explain the internal resource flows and the productive contribution of such flows to global circuits. The Kerala resource point of the global garment circuit has the presence of internal migrants from Odisha. The migrant workers are young and unmarried, belong to BPL families and are willing to do overtime in the garment unit. They are mobilised through Gram Panchayats and trained in stitching operations under the skill development programmes for the poor youth in their villages. The cashew industry is also highly feminized. The workers engaged in the cashew processing come from very poor socio-economic backgrounds. The strong presence of social networks of family, friends, caste and organisations (trade unions, caste organisation & self-help groups) were evident in the unit studied. The secondary circuit in the cashew industry takes the form of informal processing by a network of home-based workers. This secondary circuit of informal workers contributes productively to the global cashew circuit but it is not officially recognized and hence does not have legal protection.

The effects of globalisation do not thus end within the workplace; it has secondary consequences across local geographical sites. This study is a step towards analysing the link between the larger processes of globalisation and its dispersed local dimensions.


All are invited to attend

Wednesday, November 18, 2015