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By Sekhara Bandyopadhyaya

It's extensively believed that, as a result of its remarkable social improvement, the caste approach in colonial Bengal differed significantly from the remainder of India. via a learn of the complicated interaction among caste, tradition and gear, this booklet convincingly demonstrates that Bengali Hindu society preserved the necessities of caste discrimination in colonial instances, even whereas giving the outward visual appeal of getting replaced. utilizing empirical info mixed with a magnificent array of secondary assets, Dr Bandyopadhyay delineates the style during which Hindu caste society maintained its cultural hegemony and structural unity. This used to be essentially completed via complicated reformist endeavours, through co-opting the demanding situations of the dalit, and by means of marginalising dissidence. It was once via this sort of means of consistent negotiation within the realm of pop culture, argues the writer, that this oppressive social constitution and its hierarchical ideology and values have survived. beginning with an exam of the connection among caste and tool, the e-book examines early cultural encounters among `high' Brahmanical culture and the extra egalitarian `popular' non secular cults of the reduce castes. It strikes directly to take an in depth examine the connection among caste and gender displaying the explanations why the reform circulate for widow remarriage failed. It ends with an exam of the Hindu `partition' crusade, which appropriated dalit independent politics and made Hinduism the root of an emergent Indian nationwide identification. Sekhar Bandyopadhyay breaks with the various assumptions of 2 very important faculties of suggestion - the Dumontian and the subaltern - and takes as an alternative a extra nuanced method of express how excessive caste hegemony has been capable of perpetuate itself. He therefore takes up concerns which visit the center of latest difficulties in India's social and political textile. this significant and unique contribution may be greatly welcomed by way of historians, sociologists and political scientists.

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This happened as a result of a process of ‘ethnicization’ that asserted their pre-Aryan and Buddhist identity and thus helped them to get out of the ‘mind-set’ and ‘belief system’ of caste. Although this formulation appears to be a very broad generalisation, it is difficult to deny that there is evidently some truth in it. See, Christophe Jaffrelot, ‘Sanskritization vs. Ethnicization in India: Changing Identities and Caste Politics before Mandal’, Asian Survey, vol. XL, no. 5, September–October 2000, pp.

S. S. Pandian, ‘One Step Outside Modernity: Caste, Identity Politics and Public Sphere’, Economic and Political Weekly, 4 May 2002. 15 Christophe Jaffrelot, ‘Hindu Nationalism and Democracy’, in N. G. ), Democracy in India (New Delhi: 2001), p. 529. 16 Omvedt, ‘Ambedkar and After’, p. 157. 14 44 ❅ Caste, Culture and Hegemony within the existing structures of the Indian state except through coalition with the dominant power elites of the Hindu nation—either secular–liberal or religious–majoritarian?

In an age when ‘Hindu’ identity had assumed immense political significance vis-à-vis it’s Others—the British and the Muslims—maintaining inhouse solidarity was of course an important political project. Within Hindu society there was space for transcending the boundaries of caste; but this transcendence occurred within its basic power structure, where the hegemony of the upper castes was sustained by factors both sacred and secular. In other words, this hegemony was maintained both through ideology and the imperatives of structure— both through consent and coercion.

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