Status and Sacredness: A General Theory of Status Relations and an Analysis of Indian Culture

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Oxford University Press, Jun 16, 1994 - Social Science - 352 pages
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Status and Sacredness provides a new theory of status and sacral relationships and a provocative reinterpretation of the Indian caste system and Hinduism. Milner shows how in India and many other social contexts status is a key resource, and that sacredness can be usefully understood as a special form of status. By analyzing the nature of this resource Milner is able to provide powerful explanations of the key features of the social structure, culture, and religion. He argues against the widely held view that the Indian caste system is best understood as a unique cultural development, demonstrating that many of the seemingly exotic features are variations on themes common to other societies. Milner's analysis is rooted in a new theoretical framework called "resource structuralism" that helps to clarify the nature and significance of power and symbolic capital. The book thus provides a bold new analysis of India, an innovative approach to the analysis of religion, and an important contribution to social theory.
 

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User Review  - thcson - LibraryThing

A difficult but rewarding book on indian caste. The author nicely combines methodological and theoretical considerations with practical examples from indian sociology. Particularly his thesis that ... Read full review

Contents

1 Introduction
3
2 Theoretical Concepts
18
Key Elements
29
What Is to Be Explained
42
5 Explaining the Key Features of Caste
53
6 The Social Categories of Traditional India
63
Political and Economic Legitimacy
80
Additional Elements
97
12 On the Nature of Sacredness
163
13 The Worship of Gods
172
14 Salvation and Soteriology
189
15 Eschatology
204
16 Conclusions
228
Glossary
243
Notes
257
Bibliography
303

I
106
II
124
11 Status Relations in Marriage Alliances
143

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Page 3 - Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.

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