The Pertinence and Value of Village Studies for the Analysis of Rural Employment and Unemployment

Research team

Jayantha Perera




The IPS Publication is available for sale from the IPS premises at No. 100/20, Independence Avenue, Colombo 07 (Tel: +94-11-2143107, +94-11-2143100), and bookshops island-wide. For more details, contact the IPS Publications Unit.


Published Year



This paper focuses on the possible employment contribution that village studies can make towards a meaningful analysis of rural employment and unemployment. Rural household production systems are generally characterised by complex patterns of labour use – ‘occupational multiplicity’ and highly flexible divisions of labour among household members. This paper argues that such complex patterns cannot be fully grasped by doing questionnaire surveys only, as most of the data sought are embedded in intra-village relations which are governed by social, economic and political forces that shape behaviour.