CASTE, HIERARCHY, AND INDIVIDUALISM
Indian Critiques of Louis Dumont's Contributions
The Oxford in India Readings in Sociology and Social Anthropology comprises a set of volumes, each on an important theme or sub-area within these disciplines. Along with authoritative introductions and sectional prefaces, each book brings together key essays that apprise readers of the current debates and developments within the area concerned, with specific reference to India. The volumes act both as introductions to sociology and social anthropology and as essential reference works for students, teachers and researchers.
This volume brings together works that discuss Louis Dumont's contributions to the study of Indian society. In attempting to present a contextualized sociological appraisal of his work, the essays constitute Indian responses to Homo Hierarchicus, Dumont's monumental volume on caste, paying special attention to the logic, application, and problems associated with his structuralism and comparative method.
In reviewing Dumont's major theoretical approaches and insights, the essays assess his contributions in the larger context of his intellectual inspiration as well as against the ongoing changes and continuities in India over the last fifty years.
In the first part, T.N. Madan, R.S. Khare, Veena Das, and J.P.S. Uberoi provide the readers with accessible summaries and overview of Dumont's major works.
In the second part, M. N. Srinivas, Andre Beteille, Dipankar Gupta, Arun Bose, Sudipta Kaviraj, and Patricia Uberoi provide a critical appraisal of aspects of Dumont's work. In the third part, the essays of Partha Chatterjee, Arjun Appadurai, Veena Das, and R.S. Khare reflect the general shift in Indian sociology and anthropology towards postcolonial discourses and debates. The volume concludes by offering to the readers excerpts from some of Dumont's own writings and comments on the issues of method, theory, and analysis.
The second volume after Social Stratification - in the Oxford in India Readings in Sociology and Social Anthropology series - to look at the issue of caste, this high profile volume will feed into courses on Indian sociology across universities. It will be of Particular interest to students of sociology and social anthropology at postgraduate and M. Phil. Level courses, in addition to other scholars of caste and general sociology.
About the Author:
R.S. Khare is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA.
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