ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Paanwalas in Mumbai

How institutions frame economic transactions is crucial to the ability of the poor in the informal sector to fi nd their way out of poverty. The literature points to two crucial aspects of the lived reality of the urban informal sector: the network of social relationships and property rights. This article investigates the manner in which the two interact to determine earning opportunities in the urban informal sector. The study is based on a sample of informal sector paanwalas or retail paan shops across Mumbai. We point out the signifi cant role continuous access to physical space, the arena where property rights and social capital interface, plays in determining earnings.

The Making of the Middle Class in Western India: Age at Marriage for Brahmin Women (1900-50)

In spite of the recognition of the importance of the middle class, its historical fashioning has not so far been empirically studied. This study is a part of a project that examines the factors that influenced the behaviour of the contemporary middle class in western India using time series data constructed from unpublished sources. A substantially higher age at marriage, which was reached much earlier than other classes, is one of the distinguishing features of the middle class. The current paper examines reasons behind the rapid increase in the marriage age over 1900-50 among the Chitpavan brahmins of Maharashtra. In particular, the project of fashioning the emerging nation, an ideology widely shared, is highlighted as an important factor behind the increase in the age at marriage for middle class women in western India.
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