Caste and Social Emancipation through Retail Entrepreneurship Networks: An Ethnographic Exploration of the Nadar Caste in Southern India

By Jerome Joseph and Patturaja Selvaraj.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Caste identity determines social status in Indian society and given the hierarchical social stratification of the caste system, caste based social status is also associated with social advantage or disadvantage depending on the position occupied by a particular caste in the hierarchy. The lower the social strata to which the caste belongs, the higher the social disadvantage. The pursuit of livelihoods through traditional caste based occupational instrumentalities in this status stratification frame of reference is also linked to the advantage-disadvantage structural continuum. Specific castes have been traditionally associated with caste occupations which also in a sense have contributed to the constitution of the social status as well as the associated social advantage-disadvantage contours of the specific caste. Interesting research questions emerge in the context of change from traditional social arrangements towards newer expressions of caste under the impact of multiple social, political, economic forces leading to individual and collective initiatives to offset the hereditary social disadvantages of rigid social stratification systems.

A study of 40 Nadar caste entrepreneurs in Southern India examines how the caste collectivity has offset and achieved social emancipation in the context of a changing environment characterized by civic equality and achieved status based opportunity through the instrumentality of retail entrepreneurship.

Keywords: Caste, Nadar, Social Disadvantage, Social Emancipation

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.401-412. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 668.521KB).

Dr. Jerome Joseph

Senior Professor, Personnel and Industrial Relations, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

Dr. Jerome Joseph is currently Senior Professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India. He has been a faculty member at the Institute since September 30, 1986. He is a Fulbright Fellow who has been with the Programme on Negotiation at the Harvard Law School for postdoctoral work during the year 1992-93. A Phd and gold medalist at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, he is a Sociologist. He has thirty years experience as educator, trainer, training designer, researcher and consultant in the areas of Conflict Resolution, Negotiations capability development, human resource management, employment relations, Macro Organizational Sociology, training methodology, competence utilization, Coach-Mentor Development, Team Building Methodology, Field Management.

Patturaja Selvaraj

FPM Student, Personnel & Industrial Relations, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

Patturaja Selvaraj is pursuing Fellow programme in Management (FPM), doctoral level course at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. His area of specialization is Personnel & Industrial Relations. He is working on a thesis titled “Caste and Social Emancipation through Retail Entrepreneurship Networks: An Ethnographic Exploration of the Nadar Caste in Southern India” under the guidance of Professor Jerome Joseph. He has completed Master of Business Administration (MBA - Marketing) and Master of Philosophy (M.Phil – Management). He worked in National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore as Section Officer for nine years before joining FPM at IIMA. His area of interest includes Industrial Relations, disciplinary proceedings and entrepreneurship.

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