A Review of the Similarities and Differences in the Perspectives on Caste Adopted by Louis Dumont and B.R. Ambedkar

Priya Bharti Churiyana


Dumont's perspective on caste system was primarily concerned with the ideology of the caste system. His understanding of caste lays emphasis on attributes of caste that is why his approach is called attributional approach to the caste system. For him caste is set of relationships of economic, political and kinship systems, sustained by certain values which are mostly religious in nature. Hierarchy in modern western sense has been replaced by the term social stratification which itself proves to be hindrance in the understanding of the peculiarities of caste system in India. Caste is not a form of social stratification, the ideology of caste system is directly contradicted to egalitarian theory of west. Dumont argues that if caste is a social stratification than caste and social class are phenomena of same nature, (2) that hierarchy is incomprehensible, (3) that in the Indian system the separation and the interdependence of groups are subordinated to this sort of obscure or shamefaced hierarchy (hierarchy itself is shame faced) caste is a limiting case of social class in modern sense of the term.


Caste; Caste-ism; Social Set up; Social Engagement

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