SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Shah, Alpa and Lerche, Jens (2021) 'Black Lives Matter, Capital and Ideology: Spiralling out from India.' British Journal of Sociology, 72 (1). pp. 93-105.

Text - Accepted Version
Download (381kB) | Preview


Piketty's propositions for arresting inequality are discussed through the lens of racism/casteism. We focus on the case of India's George Floyds—the persistence of caste and tribe oppression under economic growth in India—through the insights of our long‐term ethnographic research. We show that inequalities are intimately tied to dynamics of capitalist accumulation in which racial/ethnic/caste/tribe and gender difference is crucial. We argue for an analysis that truly integrates ideology and the dynamics of political economy. The wider implications, we argue are political; they lie in the question of what is to be done. Despite his ambitions to decenter economics, Piketty remains trapped in the logic of economics for what he proposes are essentially economic reforms within capitalism. Moreover, ideological change cannot be a matter of choice only, and cannot be challenged solely at the level of ideas around economic inequality. It will also have to be fought as a direct contest of oppressive ideologies such as racism, casteism, and patriarchy, leading to new counter‐hegemonic positions. We will argue that this takes us from a global history of ideology to a global anthropology of praxis. A first step is to genuinely center conversations with disciplines like anthropology, sociology, and subaltern history studying people and voices from below and from the margins, and the perspectives of scholars and activists from below and from the margins.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: India, race, caste, tribe, inequality, ideology, praxis, capitalism
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
ISSN: 14684446
Copyright Statement: © 2021 London School of Economics and Political Science This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Shah, Alpa and Lerche, Jens (2021) 'Black Lives Matter, Capital and Ideology: Spiralling out from India.' British Journal of Sociology, 72 (1). pp. 93-105., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2020 15:17
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, European Union

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item