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|
Senior Professor, Personnel and Industrial Relations, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
FPM Student, Personnel & Industrial Relations, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
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