ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Dipankar GuptaSubscribe to Dipankar Gupta

Continuous Hierarchies and Discrete Castes

Continuous Hierarchies and Discrete Castes Dipankar Gupta White empirical studies have disproved the traditional Indological-cum-sociological view of a strict and irreconcilable dichotomy between caste and modern social institutions or practices, the conceptual framework within which castes in India have been understood has received no major reformulation. It is for this reason probably that studies which demonstrate the malleability of the caste structure and beliefs remain at the level of case studies and have not been able to provide an alternative conspectus on the issue of castes at a general level. The purpose of this paper is to suggest an alternative conceptual formulation on castes which can fully integrate many of the empirical findings. [The paper is being published in three parts. The second and third parts will appear in the following weeks.] CONTEMPORARY scholarship on caste continues to be influenced by the concerns of early European scholars who, in addition to being perplexed by this peculiar institution, also pondered over the possibility of India's entry, into the modern age burdened as it was by the incubus of the caste system. India today has entered the modern age, without perhaps adequate streamlining, as the caste system refused to be steam rolled into a distant past.

Caste, Infrastructure and Superstructure-A Critique

Caste, Infrastructure and Superstructure A Critique Dipankar Gupta The question whether it is 'caste' or 'class' that constitutes the primary level of reality in Indian society has been one of the constant concerns of Indian sociology. The two important contending approaches are the 'culturological approach which argues that caste is a primordial reality of Indian society and everything else springs from it; and various 'Marxist' approaches which, while recognising the importance of caste, question the theoretical and historical assumptions underlining the 'culturological' approach. The most lucid and influential exponent of the thesis of caste as primordial reality is the French sociologist, Louis Dumont, A measure of the influence of Dwmont's views can be had in the fact that a Marxist critic of Dumont, Maurice Godelier, in arguing that caste is part of the 'infrastructure', apparently taking a middle position between those who argue that caste is part of the sub-structure and those who argue that is part of the superstructure, ends up finally with views virtually similar to those held by Dumont.

Analytical Problems in Critical Sociology-Lessons of Gujarat and Bihar

Analytical Problems in Critical Sociology Lessons of Gujarat and Bihar Dipankar Gupta THOUGH social movements and collective mobilisations had traditionally attracted and inspired the forebears of modern sociological thought from Montesquieu to Marx and from von Stein to Sombart, academic sociology as it developed both in India and in the West gave the phenomenon the widest possible berth. Social movements were considered to be transient, though no doubt traumatic, phenomena which did not deserve serious intellec- concern, as they disappeared "without leaving any great impression on the historical course of social change".1 A R Desai's famous work, 'The Social Background of Indian Nationalism'', was perhaps the first systematic study of social movements in India. The Indian National movement, the Nuxalbari movement, and more recently the upheavals which preceded the declaration of Emergency in 1975, are the three movements in contemporary India which have attracted the greatest attention, and understandably so. Indian sociology seems to have taken a full circle from its previous indulgence in soporific village studies, to its present near obsession with social movements, mobilisations and unrest ituations. What is even more hearten- ing is that a critical Marxist perspec- ive seems to be gaining ground in the hallowed domain of academic sociology.

The Political Economy of Fascism

The Political Economy of Fascism Dipankar Gupta Fascism is a concept that is used more as a pejorative term than one having a rigorous theoretical connotation. The unprincipled flogging of the term, and a failure to come to grips with its cultural and structural significance has frequently brought Left forces to grief.

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