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

ClassSubscribe to Class

The Lockdown in India

The coronavirus pandemic, nationwide lockdown and the Indian demography are explored through the prisms of caste, class and gender. There is an evident link between the degree of vulnerability and susceptibility of certain people falling prey to the ills of the lockdown and the overlapping effects of class, caste and gender they belong to.

An Alternate Narrative of Agrarian Transformation in India

Whither Rural India? Political Economy of Agrarian Transformation in Contemporary India: A Festschrift for Venkatesh Athreya edited by A Narayanamoorthy, R V Bhavani, R Sujatha, New Delhi: Tulika Books, 2019; pp xxii + 242, ₹ 950.

Research Radio Ep 7: Who is Afraid of Pakistan’s Aurat March?

In this episode, we speak to Afiya Shehrbano Zia about Pakistan's Aurat March and debates between secular and right-wing women's groups.

Smell Matters: A Critical Reading of 'Parasite'

What makes Parasite a compelling film is its depiction of the transgressive potential of the body, specifically, of smell.

Between ‘Baksheesh’ and ‘Bonus’

How is class experienced by domestic workers when they come together for collective action? Using ethnographic data, this paper argues that the collective action efforts by some unions of domestic workers in Bengaluru to demand “bonus” reveals the struggles over class that they engage in, struggles that make them conscious of their in-between class status as self-employed workers in a precarious informal economy. The collective action of demanding bonus in Bengaluru entails a cultural–political struggle away from a gift economy relationship and towards a more commodified economy under conditions of precarity in the informal economy.

How BJP Appropriated the Idea of Equality to Create a Divided India

Right-wing populism has managed to turn the traditional progressive political practices on their head. The BJP began with a critique of poor implementation of NREGA through a discourse on corruption, but gradually resignified it into a critique of welfare itself; anger against growing economic inequalities leads to the election of more pro-corporate government. This article looks at the future of right-wing populism in India, arguing that instead of a moral rejection, we need to undersand the "moral structure" on which it builds its politics.

Monetary Economics of Fascism and a Working-class Alternative

Fascism is the usurpation of the economic process by the elite and the related decimation of the working class and the poor. This process is represented by the shrinkage of fiat money backing the production of goods and services and its substitution by financial instruments. This domestic coup is accomplished by the spread of what is generally referred to as “false consciousness.” The tools of basic economics can be fashioned to introduce students to these concepts. Mainstream economists continue to demonstrate the different ways utility functions can be manipulated.

Trade Unions in Banks Remain Relevant

“Are Trade Unions Relevant in the Indian Banking Sector?” by Bino Paul G D and Pooja Gupta Mahurkar (EPW, 16 April 2016) contains surmises and generalisations without verifiable supporting data, apart from glaring contradictions. Further, it does not address the current challenges before bank unions.

Inequality in Rural Nagaland

Tribal villages are usually perceived to be the egalitarian counterparts to villages in India that are ruled by hierarchical caste structures. Taking the case of Ao Naga villages, clan rank and class are found to be important for understanding the changing structures of inequality. Today, these villages are deeply integrated into the larger milieus: politics, administration, education and the market economy. The social mechanisms responsible for inequality are now to a large degree centred outside the village, and living in a village has become almost identical with a lower social status. One result of this process is that instead of clan ranks, the access to outside resources forms the basis of social inequality within the village. Based on secondary sources as well as original fieldwork, an account of how this integration leads to class differentiations at the village level is presented.

Village Restudies

An account of the inception, management and initial conclusions of a research project which "restudied" three villages, one each in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat is presented. These villages had been first studied in the 1950s by British anthropologists F G Bailey, Adrian C Mayer and David F Pocock. The new research was to focus on the sociological conditions of life in these villages today and compare the results of the new surveys with the data from the 1950s. The material presented here also points to some of the strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncratic charms of "restudies."

Revisiting the Rural in 21st Century India

The Review of Rural Affairs this time focuses largely on "restudies" of villages that were studied by social anthropologists and economists in the 1950s. The papers are not simply about documenting the unfolding evolutionary process of development, but bring new perspectives of social science understanding to the study of rural society, and also reflect on the enterprise of anthropology and fieldwork. Jamgod in Madhya Pradesh, Sundarana in Gujarat, Bisipara in Odisha, and Palanpur and Khanpur in Uttar Pradesh were restudied, while one paper presents the results of a fresh study of villages in Nagaland.

How Egalitarian Is Indian Sociology?

Even after completing a hundred years Indian sociology is practised in the milieu of domination. British, European and American domination has been well documented while the domination of the so-called twice-born castes has not been analysed. This article highlights the domination of the twice-born castes at four levels--as members practising sociology in universities, institutions and colleges, in the sphere of production of knowledge while writing chapters of books, producing knowledge with the help of scriptural sources, or producing data from the field and while teaching sociology in the classrooms.

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