Status and Sacredness: A General Theory of Status Relations and an Analysis of Indian Culture
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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2 Theoretical Concepts
What Is to Be Explained
5 Explaining the Key Features of Caste
6 The Social Categories of Traditional India
Political and Economic Legitimacy
12 On the Nature of Sacredness
13 The Worship of Gods
14 Salvation and Soteriology
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actors agency agrarian analysis analytical argument association auspiciousness and inauspiciousness behavior Bhagavad Gita bhakti Bourdieu Brahmans capital caste groups caste system central Chapter characteristic complex concept concern conformity context contingency contrast crucial cultural deity developed devotee dharma differentiation discussion dominant economic elaborate elites emphasize endogamy especially example exchange focus gifts higher status Hindu Hinduism human hypergamy identity ideology implies important impurity inalienable India Indian caste system involves isogamy jajmani kanyadana karma kings Kshatriyas legitimacy marriage alliances means mobility moksa Nonetheless norms notion objectivation one’s patterns physical political power pollution primarily processes puja purity rational choice theory refers relationships relatively religion religious ritual role sacral sacred sacredness salvation samsara sanctions sannyasins significant Smarta social structure societies soteriology South India specific status groups Sudras symbolic tendency theoretical tion tradition transformation types typically usually Vaisya variations varna Weber wife-givers worldly worship