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Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space

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Internal migration -- India, Labor mobility, Economic geography, Human geography, Sugarcane -- Harvesting -- India


In this paper, I explain the role of labor intermediaries in the weaving of capital–labor relations in capitalist agro-business. I do so by focusing on migration infrastructure or the vertical network of labor intermediaries who facilitate labor recruitment from migrant home villages and migrant labor disciplining on cane fields in rural western India, where the laborers are brought seasonally to harvest sugarcane. I show how the role of labor intermediaries cannot be understood by containing them within the villainous stereotypes associated with brokers. Intermediaries are embedded within the labor geographies of commodity production where capital accumulation requires the downward transferring of the risk of financial loss from capitalist agro-business to intermediaries and laborers. I collected data for this research by conducting interviews and focusgroup discussions in the Yavatmal and Kolhapur districts of Maharashtra state in rural western India during summer 2014 and 2015–2016.


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