Sociology Answer Writing Practice - Week 4 - Question 2
90 Days Sociology Answer Writing Practice Question 2 for 25-Dec-2017
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25-Dec-2017 - Question 2
Louis Dumont s perspective on Indian caste system. (2015)
Dumont used Indolological texts( Book View) to study caste system in India. 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.
He selected Structuralist approach to study caste system in India, This approach rest on the study of two binary/Polar opposite entity. He claimed that Hindu social organization is arranged on principle of hierarchy which is based on the idea of purity and pollution. This idea of purity and pollution is based on the normative recommendation of Sanskritic text. One who follows Sanskritic text is Hindu, hence his view was cultural particularistic view. Hence caste system is integral to Hinduism.
Dumont further says that caste is not a form of stratification but a special form of inequality whose essence has to be deciphered by the sociologists. Here he identifies hierarchy as the essential value underlying the caste system supported by Hinduism. According to Dumont caste divides the whole Indian society into a larger number of hereditary groups distinguished from one another and connected together by three characteristics:
- Separation on the basis of rules of the caste in matters of marriage and contact whether direct or indirect (food).
- Interdependent of work or division of labour each group having in theory or by tradition, a profession from which their members can depart only within certain limits
- Gradation of status or hierarchy which ranks the groups as relatively superior or inferior to one another.
Dumont overemphasized the role of ideology and neglected empirical ground realities. His view was brahminical and biased. Marxist scholars advocated that Dumont ignored the conflict and change happening in the society. Berreman argued that untouchables in foothills of Himalaya were not associated with an impure way of living.