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

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Railway Porters of Mumbai

This article explores the scope and limitations of social capital and local forms of social security in the informal sector through a case study of railway coolies at Dadar station, Mumbai. The complex organisation of the coolies, virtually excluded from state or enterprise social security schemes, is able to generate and reproduce a strong source of social capital, reinforced through kin relations and ties with the villages of origin. However, the conditions under which these systems work and the prerequisites for building and maintaining trust and cooperation are very specific and therefore vulnerable.

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