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

ClassSubscribe to Class

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."

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.

Beyond Workers and Peasants

Class in Contemporary China by David S G Goodman; New York: Wiley, 2014; pp xvii+233, £15.99

Dalit Politics in India

Dalit political parties in North and Central India have overwhelmingly pursued an agenda of recognition, calling for equal respect, rather than one of redistribution. While this has improved the social and economic standing of Dalits better situated in terms of class, it has failed to substantively improve the lives of the majority of Dalits. Ultimately, Dalits' quest for equal treatment will be limited so long as it lacks a redistributive politics that addresses exploitative economic relations.

An Unholy Festival

In a number of Indian festivals, the rituals and practices alienate different sections of society and even exploit them. Such is the case with the Holi celebrations in Charthari village in Uttar Pradesh where the dalits and women bear the brunt of the hard work that goes into observing the occasion but are not permitted to participate in the "enjoyment". This raises questions about interpretations of Holi as the carnivalesque churning of social hierarchies.

Revisiting Agrarian Bihar

Social Power and Everyday Class Relations: Agrarian Transformation in North Bihar by Anand Chakravarti; Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2001; pp 311, Rs 525.

From Violence to Supportive Practice

The politics of gender and feminist research have outlined the deprivations and unequal entitlements in the lives of women. This frame has also produced the view that understanding women's lives is incomplete without looking at their everyday locations within families that must include relations with men. This research has tried to bring into focus the way that men's support can be outlined and reflected upon in the context of gender equality and domestic democracy. Supportive practices are more than an `alternative' frame within which to place men. They enable us to hear an aspect of men's lives and expressions of their subjective positions in ways that have not so far been addressed.

The Peasant Question from Marx to Lenin

What is a class? Do peasants constitute a single class? What is the peasant question from the Marxists' revolutionary perspective? These issues are raised in this paper, based on the writings of Marx, Engels and Lenin, above all. The empirical part, mainly on the Russian agrarian scene from the 1890s to 1930, explores if the peasants constituted a cohesive social force free from internal contradictions. There is also a brief discussion on the post-Soviet situation.

Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002)

Pierre Bourdieu's absence will be felt in the sociology of the future and especially in the sociology of education, a discipline that he sought to establish at the centre of mainstream sociology. He repeatedly drew attention to the fact that without an adequate understanding of the processes within educational practice that shape habitus and perpetuate symbolic violence under an appearance of neutrality, we cannot fully establish a sociology of power that focuses on the dynamic of class relations.

Ranveer Sena and 'Massacre Widows'

The ongoing conflict between the landlord-backed Ranveer Sena and the Naxalites in Bihar acquired a new dimension during the 1999 Lok Sabha election season with the Sena fielding a candidate and parading 'massacre widows' before the electorate. Given the background of massacres in the state widowing many more dalit women than upper caste ones, the campaign ploy has provoked a debate centered of class, caste and gender.

Tenancy Inefficiency

While several attempts have been made to explain the inefficiencies of sharecropping systems found in developing economics, they have been marked by certain definitional flaws. A more rigorous analysis of sharecropping that incorporates 'size-class' differences among owners and tenants thus becomes necessary. Earlier studies had also stressed on land productivity and intensity of farm resource utilisation as indicators of efficiency, but they are seen as measures of relative efficiency only under restrictive assumptions. This study stresses on the availability of irrigation resources as a factor that increases efficiency - for both owners and tenants.

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