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

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Continuous Hierarchies and Discrete Castes

Dipankar Gupta While empirical studies have disproved the traditional Indological-cum-sociological view of a strict and irrecon- ciliable 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.

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