Home >> Indian Thinkers >> Dumont's perspective on caste system. Dumont's analysis of caste system is based on the classical literature, historical examples etc. According to Dumont caste divides the whole Indian society into a larger number of hereditary groups distinguished from one another and connected together by three characteristics: 1. While there’s disagreement over its origins, the caste system was formalized in a legal treatise called Manusmriti, dating from about 1,000 B.C. 3. Dumont highlights temporary and permanent impurity. Conceptualisation of the hierarchical meaning of caste by Dumont has been prolific. He did not answer these questions directly. Indeed, it is the mark of the quality of the analysis, that Louis Dumont in his study of the Indian Caste system, Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and its Implications (1970), exempts Cox from the strictures directed at others writers of applying ‘Western’ understandings to a system ‘alien’ to its categories and, indeed, follows arguments first set out by Cox. Nature of … India is composed of many small territories and castes; Every caste is limited to particular and definite geographic area; and, Marrying outside one’s own caste is not possible in the caste system. Madan presumed that Dumont’s analysis is an exercise in deductive logic. Caste works as an active political force in a … It is believed that a person’s own bed, garments, wife, child and water pot are pure for his own self and family and for others they are impure. Dumont felt that the study of the caste system is useful for the knowledge of India, and it is an important task of general sociology. dumont caste system. 3. We are thus forced to conclude that Dumont’s final characterization of the state of affairs that “power in some way counterbalances purity at secondary levels, while remaining sub- ordinate to it at the primary or non- segmented level” (p. From this perspective, Dumont himself, in his Homo Hierarchicus, has built up a model of Indian civilization, which is based on a noncompetitive ritual hierarchical system. Many believe that the groups originated from Brahma, the Hindu God of creation. Other key principles were purity and impurity, also being religious, and interdependence by which parts are interrelated, and related to the whole. A study of South Indian Harijans Deliège, Robert 1993-05-01 00:00:00 According to Dumont, caste can be understood as the institutionalisation of hierarchy, and the principle of hierarchy permeates all relations within Indian society. Equality repressed its hierarchy, whereas India's caste system was explicitly hierarchical. Agrarian social structure - evolution of land tenure system,land reforms 65; B2 CASTE SYSTEM. Kane writes that a man’s nearest relatives and his best friends become untouchable for him for a certain time as a result of these events. Louis Dumont was primarily concerned with the ideology of the caste system. Its a private initiative & has no relation or affiliation with any government organisation. Hierarchy: According to Louis Dumont, castes teach us a fundamental social principle of hierarchy. Why is this distinction applied to hereditary groups? A study of South Indian Harijans Caste without a system. Untouchables are specialized in ‘impure’ tasks, which lead to the attribution of a massive and permanent impurity to some categories of people. In India, persons affected by this kind of event are treated as impure for a prescribed period, and Indians themselves identify this impurity with that of the untouchables. The Caste System and Its Implications (1966) is an unusual work of Dumont in its conception, design and execution. His analysis is based on a single principle-the opposition of pure and impure. ; Dumont also seems to characterize Indian Society as almost stagnant, since he emphasizes the integrative function of caste system. For him, caste is a set of relationships of economic, political and kinship systems, sustained by certain ‘values’, which are mostly religious in nature. RajRAS is not a government website. He advocated the use of an lndological and stucturalist approach to the study of caste system and village social structure in India. Here he identifies hierarchy as the essential value underlying the caste system supported by Hinduism. RAJ RAS (Rajasthan Ras) is an initiative towards building a platform for preparation to RAS/IAS Exams, About Us  | Advertise with RajRAS | Contact Us, All Rights Reserved © Copyright 2017-2020 - Rajras.in, 60% Rise in Numbers of Leopards in India | Status Report 2018, Sports Ministry includes Gatka, Kalaripayattu, Thang-Ta and Mallakhamba in Khelo India Youth Games 2021, Sixth India International Science Festival | IISF 2020, India ranks at 131 Spot in Human Development Index, India’s First Bullion Exchange coming up at GIFT City, Gujarat, Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Disclaimer. Separation on the basis of rules of the caste in matters of marriage and contact whether direct or indirect (food). Mark Sains- it successfully integrates the purity-impurity bury, trans. At the top of this hierarchy is the Brahmin caste and at the bottom is the untouchable caste. Dumont’s analysis of caste system is based on the classical literature, historical examples etc. Louis Dumont's modern classic, here presented in an enlarged, revised, and corrected second edition, simultaneously supplies that reader with the most cogent statement on the Indian caste system and its organizing principles and a provocative advance in the comparison of societies on the basis of their underlying ideologies. Finally gradation of status or hierarchy, which ranks the groups as relatively superior to inferior to one another. 1. 2. In his work The History of Dharmashastra, P.V. Perspectives on the study of caste systems: GS Ghurye, M N Srinivas, Louis Dumont, Andre Beteille 73; Features of caste system 96; Untouchability - forms and perspectives 101; B3 TRIBAL COMMUNITIES IN INDIA. An inventory of sources of change in the caste system lists judicial and political changes, social-religious reforms, westernization, and growth of modern professionals, urbanization, spatial mobility and the growth of market economy. Dumont’s work is based on traditional Indian Texts. Caste is a unique phe­nomenon (Leach and Dumont) found in India but class is a universal phenomenon found all over the world. Did not caste lose its political significance as late in the 18th and 19th centuries? This principle also underlies separation which means pure and impure must be kept separate. Gradation of status or hierarchy which ranks the groups as relatively superior or inferior to one another. In the 1970’s somewhere Dumont’s study of caste system provoked interest in other scholars. This article concludes that Weber and Dumont represent a methodological contrast that is noteworthy for cross-cultural comparisons, while also emphasising the intellectualist inclination in Dumont's preoccupation with hierarchy in a world-historical perspective. Caste and Varna are to be understood with relationship of hierarchy and power. The problem could be resolved Dumont maintains that many of the lndologists confuse the Varna with caste, mainly because the classical literature is concerned almost entirely with the varnas. The higher 1s or that of the Brahmins or priest, below them are the Kshatriyas or warriors, then the Vaishyas, in modern usage merchants, and finally, the Shudras, the servants or have-nots. Louis Dumont’s modern classic, here presented in an enlarged, revised, and corrected second edition, simultaneously supplies that reader with the most cogent statement on the Indian caste system and its organizing principles and a provocative advance in the comparison of societies on the basis of … Dumont’s hierarchical tree will endure or fall according to how it withstands one Homo Hierarchicus: An Essay on the Caste crucial test of internal consistency: whether System. Dumont's perspective on caste system. Dumont defines caste as a pan-Indian institution, a “system of ideas and values, a formal, comprehensible rational system.” (Dumont, 35) Most importantly, he explains how caste groups are distinguished from and connected to one another … Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and Its Implications. Dumont says that caste is not a form of stratification but a special form of inequality whose essence has to be deciphered by the sociologists. And, if it accounts for the contrast between Brahmins and untouchables, can it account equally for the division of society into a large number of groups, themselves sometimes extremely sub-divided? Dumont's perspective on caste system was primarily concerned with the ideology of the caste system. In the caste system purity holds on the impure. Interdependent of work or division of labor each group having in theory or by tradition, a profession from which their members can depart only within certain limits. In fact, Dumont highlights the ‘state of mind’, which ti expressed by the emergence in various. His understanding of caste lays emphasis on attributes of caste that is why his approach is called attributional approach to the caste system. Dumont views that this definition indicates the main apparent characteristics of the caste system. The study of the caste system done by Dumont gave birth to many debates. Similarly, relying on the contrasts among different societies, Dumont endeavored to distinguish caste, racism, and stratification. is the underlying form of the caste system is after all an outsider’s imposition. Louis Dumont's modern classic, here presented in an enlarged, revised, and corrected second edition, simultaneously supplies that reader with the most cogent statement on the Indian caste system and its organizing principles and a provocative advance in the comparison of societies on the basis of their underlying ideologies. He regarded this as behavioural change, rather than a radical transformation of the system as a whole, at the level of values or principles. Dumont highlights the state of mind which is expressed by the emergence in various situations of castes. The caste system divides Hindus into four main categories - Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras. LOUIS DUMONT. It is referred to frequently in the ancient Indian texts. In reality, the caste system has changed in various ways during a period of time. He focused on the need to understand the ideology of caste as reflected in the classical texts, historical examples etc. Untouchabilitywas considered illegal: Gandhi renamed untouchables as ‘Harijan’s or ‘Sons of Hari’, that is, creatures of God. This opposition underlies hierarchy which means superiority of the pure and inferiority of impure. Besides this, they did not have any access to Hindu temples, and suffered from various other disabilities. On the one hand he has raised the awareness about existence of caste in non-Hindu communities, thereby throwing an indication about the internationalization of the concept of caste, in the second place. These were words once written by Louis Dumont, a French scholar and the author of the famous Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and Its Implications, a book long considered as … These four elements hierarchy, separation, From the mid 1960s onwards, Louis Dumont (1911-1998) moved away from Indian studies, in which he had become a leading authority with the publication of his monograph on the Kallar caste (Une sous-caste de l’Inde du Sud,1 1957) and his survey of the principle of the caste system (Homo hierarchicus,2 1967). Dumont's ultimate aim is to lead us to an understanding of'a fundamental This is a complete, theoretical work that helps us to access the vast body of available ethnographic data on caste. Dumont defines caste as a pan-Indian institution, a “system of ideas and values, a formal, comprehensible rational system.” (Dumont, 35) Most importantly, he explains how caste groups are distinguished from and connected to one another through (1) separation of matters of marriage and contact, (2) division of labor, traditions, and professions, and (3) hierarchy ranking groups as relatively … He views that traditional interdependence of castes has been replaced by “a universe of impenetrable blocks, self-sufficient, essential, and identical and in competition in one another.” Dumont calls this the ‘substantialization of castes’. The Brahmins assigned with the priestly functions, occupied the top rank in the social hierarchy and were considered ‘pure’ as compared to other castes. Varna system is extensively discussed in Dharma-shastras. Segmental Division of Society: The society is divided into various small social groups called castes. These objects are not simply polluted by the contact but by the use to which they are put and used by the person. Dumont said that this situation was somewhat changed since the Gandhian agitation and when India attained independence. Dumont argued that in the caste system, status of a caste is determined not by the economic and the political privileges but by the ritualistic legitimation of authority, i.e., in the caste system, ritual norms encompass the norms of power and wealth. Noting that alliance perpetuates status (in terms of purity) and that caste hierarchy permeates the social system even beyond the boundaries of kinship, the task was to understand caste. As a study of the caste system in India, Dumont's Homo Hierarchicus offers several new … Consequently, the features of the caste system, as projected by Dumont, seem to be unchanging. But, the opposite has always been two extreme categories, i.e., Brahmin and untouchables. Caste without a system. Dumont feels one cannot speak of the castes without mentioning the varna, to which Hindus frequently attribute the castes themselves, India has the traditional hierarchy varna, ‘colours’ or estates whereby four categories are distinguished: By his interpretation, caste was different from other forms of social stratification through the ‘disjunction’ of ritual status and secular (political and economic) power within the same social system The subordination of the political and economic criteria of social stratification to that of ritual status in Dumont’s model, however, plays down the significance of social change in colonial and contemporary times. Hence fundamental change in the caste system has not taken place. He calls caste system as a system of ideas and values which is a formal comprehensible rational system. According to Dumont the study of the caste system is useful for the knowledge of India and it is an important task of general sociology. For Dumont, the dominant principle of Hindu caste system was hierarchy – hierarchy, of course, of a religious, rather than of a political, sort. 2. There is one more category, the untouchables, who are outside the classification system. According to Harika, there are three kinds of purity: For the body, the main thing is the morning attention to personal hygiene, culminating in the daily bath. The Background. The Varna system in Dharma-shastras divides society into four varnas (Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishya and Shudras). Separation on the basis of rules of the caste in matters of marriage and contact, whether direct or indirect (food); Interdependent of work or div1s1on of labour, each group having, in theory or by tradition, a profession from which their members can depart only within certain limits; and. Louis Dumont's modern classic, here presented in an enlarged, revised, and corrected second edition, simultaneously supplies that reader with the most cogent statement on the Indian caste system and its organizing principles and a provocative advance in the comparison of societies on the basis of their underlying ideologies. Louis Dumont Louis Dumont (1911-1998) an eminent sociologist and Indologist was a towering figure in the fields of sociology and anthropology in the world. The untouchables, being ‘impure’, and segregated outside the village, were not allowed to draw water from the same wells from which the Brahmms did so. His understanding of caste lays emphasis on attributes of caste that is why his approach is called attributional approach to the caste system. Fina!ly gradation of status or hierarchy, which ranks the groups as relatively superior to inferior to one another. Caste system and its Implications: UN Summit on Non- UN Report on Domestic Violence, HIV/AIDS and Mobility in South Asia- UNDP Report 2010, India's Development Report Card vis-a-vis MDG, Sociological Perspectives on Health and Illness, Scientific Method in Sociological Research. He focused on the need to understand the ideology of caste as reflected in the classical texts, historical examples etc.He advocated the use of an Indological and structuralist approach to the study of caste system and village social structure in India. In larger areas of the world, death, birth and other such seclusion of the affected persons, for instance, the newly delivered mother was actually excluded from the church for forty days at the end of which she would present herself carrying a lighted candle and would be met at the church porch by the priest. But, despite all these factors making for change, the most ubiquitous and the general form, the change has taken in contemporary times is one of a ‘mixture’, or ‘combination’, of traditional and modern features. As for what has happening at the 20th century, although Dumont explicitly recognized the emergence of inter-caste competitiveness in place of a structure of independence as a departure from tradition. Each of these castes is a well developed social group, the membership of which is determined by the consideration of birth. He wanted to know the reason and ideology behind the caste system prevailing in India. whom Bougle specifies, Dumont presents, as the principles of the Hindu caste system, the scheme of hierarchy, separation, and interdependence-all of which are based upon an opposition between purity and impurity."' Varna literally means type, order, colour or class  and was a framework for grouping people into classes, first used in Vedic Indian society. The four classes were the Brahmins (priestly people), the Kshatriyas (also called Rajanyas, who were rulers, administrators and warriors), the Vaishyas (artisans, merchants, tradesmen and farmers), and Shudras(labouring classes). Those who fall out of this system because of their grievous sins are ostracised as outcastes (untouchables) and considered outside the varna system. His focus of debate has been India and the West. Dumont in his Homo Hierarchicus has built up a model of Indian civilization based on non-competitive ritual hierarchical system. For him caste is set of relationships of economic, political and kinship systems, sustained by certain values which are mostly … DUMONT Homo Aequalis. Now-a-days, a new garment or vessel can be received from anybody. … Even, the objects are considered as pure and impure; silk is purer than cotton, gold than silver, than bronze, than copper. So understood, caste ideology is uniform throughout the society. His understanding of caste lays emphasis on attributes of caste that is why; he is put in the category of those following the attributional approach to the caste system. Dumont contends that chang so far hae bors n 'on th politico-economie c domain of social life'; 'Everything happen as thougsh the system tolerated change only within one of its secondary spheres' (p. 228). He viewed that ‘Indian sociology’ is that specialized branch which stands at the confluence of lndology and sociology and which he advocates at the right type of ‘mix’ prerequisite to the understanding of Indian sociology. The varna categorisation implicitly had a fifth element, being those people deemed to be entirely outsid… Dumont says that caste … In the last, Dumont discusses the significant changes in the casts. Top of this hierarchy is the Brahmin caste and Varna are to be unchanging system purity holds the... 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