Partition, agency and entrepreneurship: a case study of migrant-led economic diversification in a developing country

Rossiter, W. ORCID: 0000-0002-2199-1136, Smith, D.J. ORCID: 0000-0001-7359-8451 and Kaur, N., 2022. Partition, agency and entrepreneurship: a case study of migrant-led economic diversification in a developing country. In: Regional Studies Association Winter Conference 2022: Regions in Transition, London, 10-11 November 2022.

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This paper explores the role of migrant agency as a driver of economic diversification in Northern India after Partition in 1947. The research focuses on a single industrial sector, the manufacture of sports goods. Taking a historical perspective, the study considers the role of migrant entrepreneurs in the establishment of two notable regional clusters specialising in the manufacture of sports goods in the then predominantly rural states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. In the 21st century, these two clusters, centred on the cities of Jalandhar and Meerut, have become globally significant production sites for equipment associated with a wide range of sports including football, cricket and hockey.

A key feature of the research is an examination of how displaced refugees were able to utilize their entrepreneurial skills and expertise to establish significant manufacturing centres - even though this ran counter to the Indian and state government’s initial resettlement policies which primarily aimed to support agricultural development. The paper provides insight into the manner in which migrant agency can be a positive force to promote economic diversification and regional development in a developing nation context. Significantly, this diversification and development is shown not to have taken place as a result of top-down policy intervention by state actors, but primarily through the agency and entrepreneurial skill of migrants displaced by Partition themselves. The case highlights the importance of policy makers working ‘with the grain’ of migrant capabilities and aspirations if this kind of economic development potential is to be realised.

Item Type: Conference contribution
Creators: Rossiter, W., Smith, D.J. and Kaur, N.
Date: November 2022
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 16 Nov 2022 10:40
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2022 10:40

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