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

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Caste Membership, Business Access, and Social Mobility among Indian Apparel Manufacturers

This article focuses on the role of community in industrial clusters and examines social networks among small and medium-sized enterprises in Tiruppur, a centre for the production of cotton knitwear, and Ludhiana, known for the production of woollen knitwear. This survey of Tiruppur and Ludhiana reveals that credibility is more important than community. Factory workers could become owners in Ludhiana, and non-Gounders—who are part of the cotton knitwear production in Tiruppur and persons outside Ludhiana’s merchant community—could start micro factories as subcontractors. Vertical cooperation is functioning across communities in both places. The social networks did not exclude other communities. Easy entry has provided opportunities to young people to start business in both clusters. The social networks function beyond community and caste.

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