Title: Livelihoods, social capital and small-scale indigenous enterprises in rural India: embeddedness or social exclusion?

Authors: Maria Costanza Torri

Addresses: Department of Social Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough, 1265 Military Trail, ON M1C 1A4, Toronto, Canada

Abstract: This article explores the importance of specific forms of social capital for small-scale forestry enterprises in India while highlighting that such analyses must incorporate local sociocultural complexities. In India, small-scale entrepreneurs active in the herbal sector are numerous and are mainly composed of indigenous communities and rural poor. They rely heavily on informal networks, linkages, and trust relationships for their development. This dependence reflects different social capital forms, embedded in local social and caste relations that are inclusionary for some, yet exclusionary for others. Findings show that although bonding social capital is prevalent, the presence of social-cultural complexities and social stratification, together with external factors such as lack of support from the external institutions, hinders participation and progress for many of these local entrepreneurs.

Keywords: social capital; caste; inclusion; exclusion; small-scale forestry; indigenous enterprises; rural India; livelihoods; entrepreneurship; small business; small firms; herbal sector; social stratification; cultural complexities; social complexities; local entrepreneurs; rural poor; rural poverty.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2011.041837

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2011 Vol.13 No.4, pp.429 - 444

Published online: 07 Aug 2011 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article