Livelihood Transition: Socio- Cultural and Economic Impact on Tribal Life.


  • A. Asha Sasidharan Research Scholar, Centre for Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Central University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India.


Traditional livelihood, Non-traditional livelihood, conomic status, social life, cultural practices, Political participation


Tribes are indigenous people with their own tradition, language and life style. Each tribal group is associated with a particular livelihood which determines their lifestyle. Forest is the life and livelihood of Indian tribes except in the cases of some nomadic groups. All the predominant tribal livelihood patterns like gathering of forest produces, hunting, shifting cultivation are forest centered. Forest act 1878 alienated tribes from forest and subsequently from forest produces. Deforestation has led to scarcity of forest produce which made their survival difficult. All these facts forced forest goods gathers to diverge from their traditional livelihood. Tribes explored new fields like plantation, agriculture and small industries as waged labors. Government projects also promote non-traditional livelihood. As a major determinant of lifestyle, any change in livelihood leads to significant impacts on socio- cultural and economic systems of tribal life. This study is an attempt to compare economic status and socio-cultural life of ‘Kattunaika’ who engaged in traditional livelihood practices and who adapted non- traditional livelihood practices.

The tribal group ‘Kattunaika’ lives in the tri-junction of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu states, belongs to pre agrarian civilization and traditionally they depend on hunting and forest goods gathering for their livelihood.

Study put light on the increased tendency towards individual based economy of both traditional and non-traditional group. Economic disparity and saving habits are high among non-traditional group. Social interaction is high among non-traditional group. So that, they are able to, make use of educational facilities and other welfare programs. It also leads to active political participation. Traditional group still keep on their culture like dressing, language, rituals etc. But weakening of traditional culture is visible among non-traditional group. Circumstances made them unable to pass on traditional knowledge like folk songs, dance, and language etc. They exhibit strong affiliations towards religion while the other group declares that they are ‘Kattunaika’ not following any other religion. The paper also discuss about their active and passive participation in political process.







How to Cite

Livelihood Transition: Socio- Cultural and Economic Impact on Tribal Life. (2023). Journal of Social Work Education and Practice, 2(3), 9-17.