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

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Caste in 21st Century India: Competing Narratives

Recent debates regarding inclusion of caste in 2011 Census have raised questions about whether caste still matters in modern India. Ethnographic studies of the mid-20th century identified a variety of dimensions along which caste differentiation occurs. At the same time, whether this differentiation translates into hierarchy remains a contentious issue as does the persistence of caste, given the economic changes of the past two decades. Using data from a nationally representative survey of 41,554 households conducted in 2005, this paper examines the relationship between social background and different dimensions of well-being. The results suggest continued persistence of caste disparities in education, income and social networks.

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Caste in 21st Century India: Competing Narratives

Sonalde Desai, Amaresh Dubey

Recent debates regarding inclusion of caste in 2011 Census have raised questions about whether caste still matters in modern India. Ethnographic studies of the mid-20th century identified a variety of dimensions along which caste differentiation occurs. At the same time, whether this differentiation translates into hierarchy remains a contentious issue as does the persistence of caste, given the economic changes of the past two decades. Using data from a nationally representative survey of 41,554 households conducted in 2005, this paper examines the relationship between social background and different dimensions of well-being. The results suggest continued persistence of caste disparities in education, income and social networks.

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