Constructing Dalit Identity

By C. Joe Arun

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.

340 pages

Publication Date: 1/1/2007
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9788131600818