Recasting Caste

From the Sacred to the Profane

Hira Singh,

Recasting Caste: From the Sacred to the Profane
 
 
Recasting Caste confronts the mainstream sociology of caste at its root: Louis Dumont’s Homo Hierarchicus and its main source, Max Weber’s distinction between class and status. Conventional wisdom on caste is idealist, and most students of the subject therefore exaggerate ritual homogeneity and deflect attention from intracaste differentiation and inequality. In contrast, by focusing on intracaste differences, Professor Singh demonstrates that caste hierarchy is grounded in a monopoly of land rights and political power supported by religious and secular ideology. Drawing on the sociological, anthropological and historical literature, as well as primary sources, Recasting Caste refutes the widespread claim that, in India, caste consciousness always trumps class consciousness. It questions the twin myths that caste is a product of Hinduism and that caste is essential to the survival of Hinduism. It thereby reorients the entire field of study.



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