Dalits in Neoliberal India: Mobility or Marginalisation?, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Dalits in Neoliberal India

Mobility or Marginalisation?, 1st Edition

Edited by Clarinda Still

Routledge India

292 pages

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India’s economic growth has brought opportunities for many but to what extent has it benefitted its ethnically-shaped underclass: the Dalits? Have Dalits fared better in a neoliberal India or have structural economic and social changes served to magnify Dalit disadvantage? This volume offers a varied picture of Dalit experience in different states in contemporary India. The essays draw on factual research in rural and urban areas by experts in the field. With case studies ranging from Dalit entrepreneurs in Bhopal to housewives in Tamil Nadu to ex-millworkers in Mumbai, the book contends that radically progressive change and advance is attended by discrimination and exclusion, as well as surprising new areas of stigma.

With contributions by political scientists, anthropologists, sociologists, and economists, the volume will be key reading for scholars and students of Dalit and subaltern studies, sociology, political science, and economics.


‘This volume takes a fresh look at one of the key debates on caste in contemporary India: whether Dalits are finally unshackling the stranglehold of economic marginalisation, discrimination and stigma, and straddling new opportunities for upward mobility, as the Indian economy liberalises.’Ashwini Deshpande, Professor of Economics, Delhi School of Economics

‘[A] book about the contemporary realities of caste, the dynamics of change and its persistence, the messy realities of prejudice, exclusion and deprivation along with positive stories of mobility, social movements and deepening democracy in today’s India.’Surinder S. Jodhka, Professor of Sociology, Jawaharlal Nehru University

‘Offers a wide-ranging and incisive analysis of the condition of India’s Dalits … thoughtful, rich, and beautifully observed — a wonderful resource for South Asianists and development scholars.’ Craig Jeffrey, Professor of Development Geography, University of Oxford

Table of Contents

Maps, Figures and Plates.Tables. Abbreviations. Foreword Mukulika Banerjee. Acknowledgements. Dalits in Neoliberal India: An Overview Clarinda Still 1.Dalit Entrepreneurs, Globalisation and the Supplier Diversity Experiment in Madhya Pradesh Sudha Pai 2. Trajectories of Dalits’ Incorporation into the Indian Neoliberal Business Economy Kaushal K. Vidyarthee 3. Locating Caste in a Globalising Indian City: A Study of Dalit Ex-millworkers’ Occupational Choices in Post-industrial Mumbai Sumeet Mhaskar 4. Legislating for Liberation? Dalit Electoral Politics and Social Change in Tamil Nadu Hugo Gorringe 5. A Book Also Travels: Circulating Small Booklets in Dalit Poorva Badri Narayan 6. Low Caste Elites and Re-traditionalised Responses: Status and Security in an Economically Uncertain Time Jordan C. R. Mullard 7. Dalit Women Becoming ‘Housewives’: Lessons from the Tiruppur Region, 1981–82 to 2008–09 Judith Heyer 8. Finding One’s Place among the Elite: How Dalits Experiencing Sharp Upward Social Mobility Adjust to Their New Social Status Jules Naudet. About the Editor. Notes on Contributors. Index.

About the Editor

Clarinda Still is Lecturer of Modern Indian Studies, University of Oxford; and Junior Research Fellow, Wolfson College.

About the Series

Exploring the Political in South Asia

Exploring the Political in South Asia is devoted to the publication of research on the political cultures of the region. The books in this Series will present qualitative and quantitative analyses grounded in field research, and will explore the cultures of democracies in their everyday local settings, specifically the workings of modern political institutions, practices of political mobilisation, manoeuvres of high politics, structures of popular beliefs, content of political ideologies and styles of political leadership, amongst others. Through fine-grained descriptions of particular settings in South Asia, the studies presented in this Series will inform, and have implications for, general discussions of democracy and politics elsewhere in the world.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General
HISTORY / Asia / India & South Asia
PHILOSOPHY / Political
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies