THE TOXICITY OF BEAUTY: Local Social and Environmental Ramifications of Technological Modernization within Clusters of Textile Producers
The local caste community of chhipa printers and rangrez dyers in the town of Sanganer, outside of Jaipur, India, are famous for hand block printing. The centuries-old craft uses natural dyes to stamp intricate designs on fabric. Over time, to keep pace with international demand, many printers switched to chemical dyes and screen printing, and upper-caste entrepreneurs have set up shop in town. As production output skyrocketed in the 1960s, so too did pollution of the city’s water systems. In response, a group of elite exporters partnered with the state and central government to construct a formalized, industrial textile park on the outskirts of the city. The park has increased production output of member firms and recycles 90% of its wastewater, however, the challenge of pollution within the original town of Sanganer still exists. This thesis is a case study of formal and informal textile clusters and interconnected social systems and forms of organization that contribute to economic productivity, technological modernization, environmental pollution and social discord within the hand block printing industry of Sanganer, India.
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