Critical Themes in Indian Sociology brings together the writings of a number of scholars—both well established and younger, in India and in different parts of the world—on various themes that express the richness and diversity that defines sociological scholarship on India. The book reflects changes in scholarship over time and charts out new subjects and methods for the study of social life in India. Commemorating the 50 plus years since Contributions to Indian Sociology was first published, this book is a tribute to a journal that has sustained an internationally acclaimed and rigorous sociological engagement with India. Comprising a wide range of themes such as village, city, class, caste, politics, gender, sexuality, media, food and education, this book presents a concise, yet in-depth sense of a sociological view of India today.

Caste and the Anthropology of Democracy

Caste and the anthropology of democracy
Lucia Michelutti

Introduction

One late afternoon in March 2014, I stopped to buy a sari at the local cloth shop in the central bazaar of a provincial town in western Uttar Pradesh (UP). It was a month before the general Lok Sabha elections. While I was looking at the different fabrics and sipping tea, the shop owner and four other clients started an animated debate about the current UP government and upcoming elections. The shop owner Manoj Yadav (65 years old) and the clients belong to the local Yadav community. I have known the three of them since 1998 when I started to conduct research in the area. In the preceding ...

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