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Jadhav, Sushrut, Pathania, Gaurav J., Thorat, Amit, Mosse, David and Jain, Sumeet (2023) 'Caste Identities and Structures of Threats: Stigma, Prejudice and Social Representation in Indian universities.' Caste: A Global Journal on Social Exclusion, 4 (1). 03-23.

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Caste is a complex ontological construction. Despite several anti-caste movements and constitutional provisions, caste exists in the Indian psyche as part of everyday life. Even in the advent of globalization, caste continues to foster social and economic inequalities and exclusion in newer forms and perpetuates violence. The available research on caste-based stigma and humiliation provides a limited understanding as it deals with Dalits only; and ignores caste-Hindus (upper-caste) agency. Based largely on qualitative data collected at an intense three-day workshop, including two Focus Group Discussions and a year-long ethnography, this article illustrates the micro processes of everyday life experiences of caste-based stigma and humiliation among university students, academic staff and administrative staff. It explores subtle and overt caste discrimination, prejudices and stereotypes existing in the spatial morphologies of Indian higher education, its perpetuation on campuses and its impact on students’ psyche. It highlights the dearth of scholarship in this area of caste identity and stigma; and proposes nuanced questions for future research to understand why universities in India are turning into places of social defeat for Dalit and OBC students. The article argues the basis of caste discrimination and humiliation in universities is not the same as it exists in other social institutions. Instead of asserting conclusions on this matter we set out justifiable lines of inquiry. There are two issues that this article examines: first, how students in Indian higher education evolve strategies for coping with threatened identities. Second, what structural repair in higher education is required to heal the wounded (caste) psyche?</jats:p>

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
ISSN: 26394928
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 24 May 2023 14:20
Funders: British Academy

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