From hierarchy to ethnicity : the politics of Caste in twentieth-century India / Alexander Lee.

By: Lee, Alexander [author.]Material type: TextTextPublisher: New York : Cambridge University Press, 2020Description: pages cmContent type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781108489904Summary: "Caste identities have been fundamental in shaping Indian politics, the loyalties, the structure of the party system, and the distribution of public resources. This book explains when and how caste identities became politicized, and how the nature of caste itself changed over time. The way in which caste is understood is dependent on time and place; some understand it as an integrated system based on subtle gradations of hierarchical difference, while others perceive it as a set of bounded groups similar to ethnicities in other countries across the globe. Using a wide range of historical data sources, the book shows how these identities evolved from the colonial period to the present. It describes how uneven economic development shifted the set of groups and regions where caste is important, while the spread of mass politics and the corresponding decline of patrimonial politics led to a decline in the hierarchical nature of the system. While colonial rule established some of the structural conditions of these changes, the enthusiasm with which caste activists responded to these conditions fluctuated from group to group. Even after these changes, the caste system in India differs from ethnic politics in other parts of the world, in ways that reflect its hierarchical history. The theory discussed in this book foregrounds how identity politics can vary not just between countries, but between groups, and how the modern conception of the ethnic group is the product of a long, and highly contingent, historical process"-- Provided by publisher.
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"Caste identities have been fundamental in shaping Indian politics, the loyalties, the structure of the party system, and the distribution of public resources. This book explains when and how caste identities became politicized, and how the nature of caste itself changed over time. The way in which caste is understood is dependent on time and place; some understand it as an integrated system based on subtle gradations of hierarchical difference, while others perceive it as a set of bounded groups similar to ethnicities in other countries across the globe. Using a wide range of historical data sources, the book shows how these identities evolved from the colonial period to the present. It describes how uneven economic development shifted the set of groups and regions where caste is important, while the spread of mass politics and the corresponding decline of patrimonial politics led to a decline in the hierarchical nature of the system. While colonial rule established some of the structural conditions of these changes, the enthusiasm with which caste activists responded to these conditions fluctuated from group to group. Even after these changes, the caste system in India differs from ethnic politics in other parts of the world, in ways that reflect its hierarchical history. The theory discussed in this book foregrounds how identity politics can vary not just between countries, but between groups, and how the modern conception of the ethnic group is the product of a long, and highly contingent, historical process"-- Provided by publisher.

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