This volume in the Oxford in India Readings in Sociology and Social Anthropology series is a well-rounded and rigourous analysis of the study of caste and hierarchy in India. The essays herein are a contextualized sociological appraisal of the work of Louis Dumont. They constitute Indian responses to Dumont's path breaking work Homo Hierarchicus, and discuss the logic, application and problems associated with his influential structural and comparative method in sociology. The essays in Section I provide the reader with accessible summaries and overviews of Dumont's work. Section II is a critical appraisal of aspects of his works, while Section III reflects the general shift in Indian sociology and social anthropology towards postcolonial debates and discourses. The final section includes excerpts from Dumont's own writings, along with comments on the issues of method, theory, and analysis.
With contributions from important scholars of Indian sociology and anthropology, the reader is the second volume after Social Stratification (in the series) to look at the issue of caste. This high profile volume will feed into courses on Indian sociology across universities and be of particular interest to students of sociology and social anthropology in post graduate and M.Phil level courses, in addition to other scholars of caste and political sociology.
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R.S. Khare is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Virginia.
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