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Understanding Occupational Change in India

I. P. Desai
Economic and Political Weekly
Vol. 6, No. 22 (May 29, 1971), pp. 1094-1098
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4382066
Page Count: 5
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Understanding Occupational Change in India
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Abstract

Occupational change has been understood largely as change in the activities of the members of a society to earn their livelihood. The change is observed in terms of changes in the distribution of these activities in the socio-economic structure of society. From this it is only a step further to describe change by classifying activities in terms of role expectations and positions and evaluation of these role positions. Insofar as the social implications of these occupational changes are concerned, generally recourse is taken to study of occupational groups, their social characteristics, psychology, etc. In these types of study, social mobility is a favourite subject. All this is useful. But there is a feeling of inadequacy about these studies, insofar as they are taken as indicators of social change. This feeling of inadequacy can be pinpointed to activities being made the central point of observation and analysis and their being related to some of the economic, social and psychological attributes of different occupational groups. But the question that arises is: can a man not continue the same activity and yet change his person, i e, his social relationships? Also can a man not change his activity and not change his social relationships? The point of departure of this paper is the affirmation that a man can change his occupation and yet not change his person and vice versa. This affirmation requires us to shift the centre of attention from activity to person, i e, to social relationships. It is suggested that irrespective of the number and variety of occupational activities and the number of persons engaged in them, there could be occupational change if there is change in social relationships. It is further submitted that in India occupational change in this sense is taking place more widely than statistics of change in the number and variety of activities suggested.

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