Kannan Subramaniam is currently pursuing Post-Doctoral Research in Department of Sociology at the Pondicherry University in India. Subramaniam is specialised in mobility and Industrial research and has published a book and a research paper.
Industrialization and Social Mobility in Puducherry
Though the impact of industrialization on social structure has engaged the sociologists particularly after the Second World War, it was largely confined to the advanced industrial and modern societies of the West and Countries like India which was characterized by peasant and agricultural economy was not considered for such analysis. With the development of the nation-states of the 20th century adopting the modernization model, the effect of industrialization on the socio-political and economic structure received the attention of sociologists who were until then preoccupied with the study of family and kinship relations. The study of economic changes as a consequence of industrialization and its benign impact on social mobility was ignored because of the assumption that Indian society is frozen on where mobility cannot take place. The impact of industrialization become wider and rapid after the liberalization process of 1991, which is likely to have created conditions for inter-generational social and economic mobility in view of emerging economic opportunity structures. While one group of scholars argue that the process of industrialization improved the overall economy and generated multiple employment opportunities and the other group subscribes to the view that only the upper strata of the society is the major beneficiary of this development and the position disadvantaged social groups continue as bad they were earlier rather in many cased the condition has been worsen due to large scale displacement. There are no clear indications as to what extent the quality of life of the lower strata, has improved or been changing due to this industrial growth.
Against this background the present study will make an attempt to understand the impact of industrialization on the trend of social mobility with reference to Puducherry which is one of the merging industrial hubs in India. Though it is a small union territory, it has experienced large scale industrialization in the recent past. To go by the Statistical Abstract of Puducherry, as of March 2010 there are 75 large scale, 183 medium scale and 8141 small scale industries in Puducherry which as only area of 479 square kilometers with a population of 12,44,464 (as per 2011 Census). Moreover, the social structure of Pondicherry is different from rest of India due impact of French colonialism.