Constructing Dalit Identity
"This book examines the processes by which the Dalits of Tamil Nadu, South India, attempt to construct their identity by transforming the symbols of pollution into symbols of their culture and positive identity. It argues that conflict is a necessary condition for identity formation. For it remains as a resource that helps them become self-conscious of their low and polluted identity and guide them to imagine a new identity. To this end, instead of negating the symbols of polluted identity used by higher castes, the Dalits use the same symbols and myths to deconstruct their low identity and re-define themselves. Drawing on the empirical data from three-year fieldwork, this book explains that conflict, symbolisation and identification are the three key phases in the construction of identity. This throws a new challenge to scholars and students of sociology, anthropology and political science interested in studying social change, identity politics, social conflict, and Asian reality."
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Arguments and Theories
A Theoretical Argument
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Ambedkar arrack asked ASSEFA assert beef-eating Brahmins caste group caste system cattle scavenging chapter Chengalpattu Chennai Christians church Colony conflict construction create cultural Dalits dargos dargos land defined discourse discuss district domination DPI party drum drummers eating beef Elumalai Gounder fieldwork funerals give high caste higher castes Hindu holism human identify identity formation India interactions Kanchipuram district Kandigai labourers later leaders live low and polluted low castes low identity Madurai Mariamman meaning myths Naidus organised paddy Pallars Panchami land Panchayat Pappanallur Paraiyars Pappanallur village parai Paraiyar children Paraiyar women Paraiyars of Pappanallur Paraiyars say Paraiyars told parish priests person play political polluted Pongal festival practice present study realise Reddiyars rituals role sense social society status stories symbolic interactionism symbols of pollution Talaiyari Tamil Nadu Thirumavalavan traditional services untouchability Uthiramerur Vagaiyard Vagaiyard council Vanniyars Village Panchayat