India Working: Essays on Society and Economy (Contemporary South Asia)

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Brand new Book. By drawing on her extensive fieldwork in India and on the adjacent theoretical literature, Barbara Harriss-White describes the working of the Indian economy through its most important social structures of accumulation. Successive chapters explore a range of topics including labour, capital, the state, gender, religious plurality, caste and space. Despite the complexity of the subject, the book is vivid and compelling. The author's intimate knowledge of the country enables the reader to experience the Indian local scene and to engage with the precariousness of daily life.

Her conclusion challenges the prevailing notion that liberalisation releases the economy from political interference and leads to a postscript on the economic base for fascism in India. This is an intelligent book, first published in , by a distinguished scholar, for students of economics, as well as for those studying the region. Seller Inventory AAA Barbara Harriss-White. Publisher: Cambridge University Press , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:.

Synopsis About this title Drawing on her knowledge of the country and on theoretical literature, Barbara Harris-White describes the Indian economy through its most important social structures of accumulation. Book Description : By drawing on her intimate knowledge of the region and on the adjacent theoretical literature, Barbara Harris-White describes the working of the Indian economy through its most important social structures of accumulation. Buy New Learn more about this copy. Other Popular Editions of the Same Title.

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Seller Rating:. Published by Cambridge University Press. Booklot Philadelphia, PA, U. Seller Image. New Quantity Available: 1. New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1. The birth of an infant is celebrated with rites of welcome and blessing, typically much more elaborate for a boy than for a girl. Although India boasts many eminent women and was once led by a powerful woman prime minister, Indira Gandhi, and while goddesses are extensively worshiped in Hindu rituals, statistics reveal that girls are, in fact, disadvantaged in India.

The Census counted only females per males, reflecting sex-selective abortion, poorer medical care and nutrition, and occasional infanticide targeting females. In recent decades, demands for dowries have become quite exorbitant in certain groups. Marriage is deemed essential for virtually everyone in India, marking the great watershed in life for the individual. For most of Hindu northern and central India, marriages are arranged within the caste between unrelated young people who may never have met. Among some south Indians communities and many Muslims, families seek to strengthen existing kin ties through marriages with cousins whenever possible.

People use their existing social networks, and increasingly, matrimonial newspaper advertisements. The advertisements usually announce religion, caste, educational qualifications, physical features, and earning capacity, and may hint at dowry size even though giving or accepting dowries is actually illegal. Among the highly educated, brides and grooms sometimes find each other in college or professional settings. So-called love marriages are becoming less scandalous than in previous years. Among Indian residents of North America, brides and grooms often meet through South Asian matrimonial websites.

Many self-arranged marriages link couples of different castes but similar socioeconomic status. Usually, a bride lives with her husband in his parental home, where she should accept the authority of his senior relatives, perform household duties, and produce children—especially sons—to enhance his family line. Ideally, she honors her husband, proudly wears the cosmetic adornments of a married woman, and cheerfully fulfills her new role.

If she is fortunate, her husband will treat her with consideration, treasure her contributions to his household, and allow her continuing contact with her natal relatives. For many young wives, this is a difficult transition. Death causes the restructuring of any family. Widows of low-status groups have always been allowed to remarry, but widows of high rank have been expected to remain chaste until death.

Social inequality exists throughout the world, but perhaps nowhere has inequality been so elaborately constructed as in the Indian institution of caste. Caste has existed for many centuries, but in the modern period it has been severely criticized and is undergoing significant change. Castes are ranked, named, endogamous in-marrying groups, membership in which is achieved by birth. There are thousands of castes and subcastes in India, involving hundreds of millions of people. These large kinship-based groups are fundamental to South Asian social structure.

Caste membership provides a sense of belonging to a recognized group from whom support can be expected in a variety of situations. The word caste derives from the Portuguese casta, meaning species, race, or kind. Among Indian terms sometimes translated as caste are varna, jati, jat, biradri, and samaj. Varna, or color, actually refers to four large categories that include numerous castes. The other terms refer to castes and subdivisions of castes often called subcastes.

ISBN 13: 9780521809795

Many castes are associated with traditional occupations, such as priests, potters, barbers, carpenters, leatherworkers, butchers, and launderers. Members of higher-ranking castes tend to be more prosperous than members of lower-ranking castes, who often endure poverty and social disadvantage.

In past decades, Dalits in certain areas had to display extreme deference to high-status people and were barred from most temples and wells. Such degrading discrimination was outlawed under legislation passed during British rule and was repudiated by preindependence reform movements led by Mahatma Gandhi and Bhimrao Ramji B.

India Working: Essays on Society and Economy by Barbara Harriss-White

Ambedkar, a Dalit leader. After independence in , Dr. However, Dalits as a group still suffer significant disadvantages, especially in rural areas. Within castes, explicit standards are maintained. Rules of marriage, diet, dress, occupation, and other behaviors are enforced, often by a caste council panchayat. Infringements can be punished by fines and temporary or permanent outcasting.

Themes In Indian Society

Individuals and caste groups can hope to rise slowly on the hierarchy through economic success and adoption of high-caste behaviors. However, it is virtually impossible for an individual to raise his own status by falsely claiming to belong to a higher caste; a deception of this kind is easily discovered. In rural areas, many low-caste people still suffer from landlessness, unemployment, and discriminatory practices.

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In the growing cities, however, caste affiliations are often unknown to casual associates, and traditional restrictions on intercaste interactions are fading fast. In some urbane circles, intercaste marriages linking mates of similar class status have become acceptable. Correlations between caste and occupations are declining rapidly.


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