1st Edition

Structure and Change in Indian Society

Edited By Bernard S. Cohn Copyright 1968
    526 Pages
    by Routledge

    523 Pages
    by Routledge

    Recent theoretical and methodological innovations in the anthropological analysis of South Asian societies have introduced distinctive modifications in the study of Indian social structure and social change. This book, reporting on twenty empirical studies of Indian society conducted by outstanding scholars, reflects these trends not only with reference to Indian society itself, but also in terms of the relevance of such trends to an understanding of social change more generally.

    The contributors demonstrate the adaptive changes experienced by the studied groups in particular villages, towns, cities, and regions. The authors view the basic social units of joint family, caste, and village not as structural isolates, but as intimately connected with one another and with other social units through social and cultural networks of various kinds that incorporate the social units into the complex structure of Indian civilization. Within this broadened conception of social structure, these studies trace the changing relations of politics, economics, law, and language to the caste system.

    Showing that the caste system is dynamic, with upward and downward mobility characterizing it from pre-British times to the present, the studies suggest that the modernizing forces which entered the system since independence--parliamentary democracy, universal suffrage, land reforms, modern education, urbanization, and industrial technology--provided new opportunities and paths to upward mobility, but did not radically alter the system. The chapters in this book show that the study of Indian society reveals novel forms of social structure change. They introduce methods and theories that may well encourage social scientists to extend the study of change in Indian society to the study of change in other areas.

    I: Caste and Social Structure; 1: Notes on the History of the Study of Indian Society and Culture; 2: Family, J?ti, Village; 3: A Comparative Analysis of Caste: The United States and India 1; II: The Structure of Intercaste Relations; 4: Caste Regions of the North Indian Plain; 5: Toward A Grammar of Defilement in Hindu Sacred Law; 6: Caste Ranking and Food Transactions: A Matrix Analysis; 7: Caste and World View: The Application of Survey Research Methods; III: Is the Caste System Changing?; 8: Mobility in the Caste System; 9: Mobility in the Nineteenth-Century Caste System; 10: The Politics of Untouchability: A Case from Agra, India; IV: Caste in Politics, Economics, and Law; 11: Structures of Politics in the Villages of Southern Asia; 12: Caste and Merchant Communities; 13: Changing Legal Conceptions of Caste; V: The Joint Family, Its Structures and Changes; 14: Region, Caste, And Family Structure; 15: Chitpavan Brahman Family Histories: Sources for a Study of Social Structure and Social Change in Maharashtra; 16: Time-Dimension and Structural Change in an Indian Kinship System: A Problem of Conceptual Refinement; 17: 17. The Indian Joint Family In Modern Industry; VI: Language and Social Structure; 18: Social Dialect and Semantic Structure in South Asia; 19: The Structure of Variation: a Study in Caste Dialects; 20: Occupation and Residence in Relation to Dharwar Dialects


    John C. Hopkins