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

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Rethinking Inequality: Dalits in Uttar Pradesh in the Market Reform Era

In the debates surrounding the consequences of India's shift from a state-led to a market-oriented economic model, the issue of caste and caste practices, particularly for dalits, has been an empirical weak link. We draw on a unique survey designed and implemented by members of the dalit community to capture social practices and conditions important to them which are not featured in the usual household surveys. This survey asked all dalit households in two blocks of Uttar Pradesh (Azamgarh and Bulandshahar districts) both about conditions currently and in 1990. The survey results suggest that placing exclusive focus on measures of material well-being, such as consumption expenditure and its inequality, is misplaced as it misses important changes in socially structured inequalities and hence in individuals' functioning.

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