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Caste in Question

Caste in Question
Identity Or Hierarchy?

First Edition
Edited by:
  • Dipankar Gupta - Centre for Public Affairs and Critical Theory / Shiv Nadar University, India

Other Titles in:
Social Stratification

255 pages | SAGE India
This volume offers a new understanding of caste in contemporary India. It argues that the traditional view of caste - as a single hierarchy, with Brahmans at the top and the untouchable castes at the bottom - is no longer valid.

Based on fieldwork, the articles in this volume prove that ritual dominance does not determine the nature of caste interactions in any way. From politics to gender to economic interaction, the single, pure hierarchy is constantly being questioned and weakened. Castes that once had the status of shudras are now claiming, on occasions, a position superior to Brahmans and Kshatriyas; agrarian castes - such as Jats, Ahirs and Gujars - are at the political forefront, taking caste identities outside the village; the once passive untouchable castes are now aggressive and militant, and aware of their rights in a democratic society.

This exciting collection of original articles demonstrates how caste identity today challenges the outdated notion of a single, all-encompassing hierarchy, within which each caste co-exists peacefully.

Dipankar Gupta
The Certitudes of Caste: When Identity Trumps Hierarchy

Prem Chowdhry
Caste Panchayats and the Policing of Marriage in Haryana
Enforcing Kinship and Territorial Exogamy

Lucia Michelutti
`We (Yadavs) Are a Caste of Politicians'
Caste and Modern Politics in a North Indian Town

John E Cort
Jains, Caste and Hierarchy in North Gujarat
Gaurang R Sahay
Hierarchy, Difference and the Caste System
A Study of Rural Bihar

G K Karanth
Replication or Dissent? Culture and Institutions Among `Untouchable' Scheduled Castes in Karnataka
Surinder S Jodhka
Sikhism and the Caste Question
Dalits and Their Politics in Contemporary Punjab

Badri Narayan
Inventing Caste History
Dalit Mobilisation and Nationalist Past

Anuja Agrawal
`The Bedias are Rajputs'
Caste Consciousness of a Marginal Community


Dipankar Gupta

Dipankar Gupta is Professor at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University. More About Author

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