Social Cohesion and Knowledge Diffusion: Understanding the Embeddedness–Homophily Association

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Socio-Economic Review, Volume 13, Issue 4, p.723-746 (2015)



<p>The idea of social relations shaping business and production relations between economic agents is not new. Production relations may become socially embedded and may exhibit homophily. We work towards understanding an embeddedness–homophily connection with the support of a case study of the decline of a formerly dominant handloom weavers' community in Kerala, the Saliyars. We demonstrate that there is a spectrum of cohesion along which network links can be categorised, and that it is homophilous-embeddedness that truly defines cohesion. We build the evidence that the Saliyars' networks were characterised by ‘homophilous-embeddedness’, which, we show, has been relayed across generations. Due to this attribute, the Saliyars are placed as an example that counters the standard line in the literature that community cohesion has been historically congruent to technological progress and knowledge diffusion in handloom in India.</p>