The Economic History Review

Acceptance of innovations in early twentieth–century Indian weaving

Volume 55 Issue 3
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Pages: 507-532Authors: Tirthankar Roy
Published online: March 7, 2003DOI: 10.1111/1468-0289.00230

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The experience of the handloom weaver has been seen either as an example of the destruction of traditional industry in response to competition from mechanized industry, or as one of survival. The significance of technology in these debates has been under-explored. The article argues that technological change in weaving was significant, and was not a response to declining competitiveness, but part of a transition in markets and organizations that the surviving handlooms experienced. The extent of technological change was uneven between places and groups. The technological map was shaped mainly by institutions and institutional change.