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

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Humiliation: Class Matters Too

All the dalits actively protesting against the humiliation of Devyani Khobragade through email and social media campaigns would not have even heard of Soni Sori, let alone what the Chhattisgarh police did to her. But isn't Sori a member of their class, the class of the exploited?

Caste and the Bar Dancer

While Maya Pandit identifi es the State's wrath against lower-caste female sexuality as the root cause of the ban on dancing, this comment on dance bar debate argues that the very reason for the legal ban can be found in the caste and gender politics in globalising India and "caste governance" by the Maharashtra state government.

Class-Caste Debate Revisited

The recent critique of the Ambedkarite Dalit movement by Marxist critics has led to a hostile reaction from the former as it was seen as part of a long history of acrimonious relations between these two forces fi ghting similar battles for the deprived and oppressed. Can these two radical streams overcome this history of bad relations and misunderstandings to synthesise a new unifi ed politics of protest?

Caste in Tamil Nadu - II

The case of violence against the dalits by the Vanniyars in Dharmapuri recently is not a sign of resurgent casteism as the media and others are claiming. The state has definitely benefited from the anti-caste movements in the past and the dalits are experiencing upward mobility. The violence is a desperate acknowledgement of the dalit reality and the inability of the intermediate castes to exercise caste power over them as in the past.

Caste in Tamil Nadu

Representations have been made by some of the political parties of Tamil Nadu to have a particular chapter in an NCERT Class IX textbook removed; the chapter is being attacked for discussing the past of the infl uential Nadars as "untouchables" and for highlighting the role played by 19th century Christian missionaries in the community's subsequent upward mobility. The present clamour for a censored caste history has a right-wing Hindu character to it. If memories of degradation are an enabling resource in producing alliances against continuing forms of oppression, in this instance erasure of such memories is what is being sought by an upwardly mobile caste.

Conceptualising Social Exclusion: New Rhetoric or Transformative Politics?

The debate on equality and non-discrimination is certainly not a new one, but the way it is incorporated in that on social exclusion leads to several shifts within the discourse on social justice. The term social exclusion is multidimensional although its western use in a selective way about markets promoting equality separates it from the Indian emphasis on social justice as linked to ending discrimination of dalit groups. The concept of social exclusion is inherently problematic as it faces three major challenges in India: the first relates to the historical discrimination of certain groups and their exclusion; the second is about the political economy of the excluded; and the third questions the way in which equality responses are restricted within the framework of social exclusion.

Inequality and Exclusion: As If the System Mattered

The study of exclusion in social terms by itself is inadequate. Any attempt to understand and explicate exclusion either historically or contemporarily has to pay attention to interdisciplinary approaches. This note emphasises that the approach should be via understanding the operation of economic forces in particular and interdisciplinarity in general.

Paramakudi Violence: Against Dalits, Against Politics

The killing of six dalits in police firing in Paramakudi in September again exposes the manner in which state institutions work to enforce the social dominance of certain castes. In the southern districts of Tamil Nadu there is an upsurge within dalit castes, but there is also a continuing complicity between the dominant castes, political parties and state institutions to beat this back.

Scavenging Profession: Between Class and Caste?

A recent incident where some people belonging to the "Bhangi" community smeared human excreta to protest the Karnataka government's plan to evict them from their homes brings out in stark relief the failure of reformist initiatives to end the manual clearing of human excreta. This article argues that part of the reason for these failures has been the inability to imbue the "Bhangi" with political agency, while our ideological and literary imaginations have only tried to see this issue in terms of caste or class.

Dalits and a Lack of Diversity in the Newsroom

This article explores the issue of dalits' inclusion in the media industry. It argues that under-representation of dalits in Indian media leads to an exclusion of news on dalits.

Caste in South Asia

This is with reference to “Comparative Contexts of Discrimination: Caste and Untouchability in South Asia” by Surinder S Jodhka and Ghanshyam Shah (EPW, 27 November 2010). Academic discussions about the caste system in south Asia are not a new thing but this paper, based on a large-scale survey, is...

Does Class Matter? Class Structure and Worsening Inequality in India

Does class structure matter in understanding the increasing inequality in India during the period of economic liberalisation? There is now clear evidence from the National Sample Survey quinquennial household consumer expenditure surveys conducted in 1993-94 and 2004-05 that increased distance between urban elites (owners, managers and professionals), rural rentier classes (such as moneylenders and absentee landlords) that are more stratified at the top, and unskilled urban workers, marginal farmers and agricultural workers, who are increasingly more stratified at the bottom, helps us understand the distributional dynamics of the Indian growth story. This paper analyses the class structures in India and decomposes the overall inequality into inter-class and intra-class terms. It explains these changes by analysing the Indian policies during this period.

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