Reproduction and Transformation of Dalit Discrimination in Contemporary India

By Yui Masuki.

Published by The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: February 19, 2016 $US5.00

This study elucidates how Dalit discrimination is reproduced in contemporary India and explores how this process is negotiated among Dalits and other local people. Dalits, usually referred to as “Untouchables,” are the lowest rank in the Hindu hierarchical caste system. It was found that discrimination against Dalits could not be fully alleviated by changes in their traditional occupation, which was regarded as the basis of their “impurity,” or by enhancing individuals’ socioeconomic capabilities. To some extent, discriminatory relations have been transformed into more equitable ones by both rapid modernization and the emerging role of civil society. In practice, however, discrimination against Dalits is being reproduced in another, more complicated form. Moreover, the negotiation of this discriminatory relationship has come to be embodied in the local community. This phenomenon has to be analyzed at the structural and practical levels in daily life for a proper understanding both of the discriminatory relation between social groups and the interpersonal, intimate relationships between the perpetuators and victims of discrimination, which exist in parallel. This work is a case study of the sweeper caste, which is at the bottom of the Dalits.

Keywords: Discrimination, Structure, Practice

The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies, Volume 14, Issue 2, June 2016, pp.29-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: February 19, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 678.549KB)).

Yui Masuki

PhD Candidate, Division of Global Area Studies, Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan