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Showing 1-1 of 1 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 3 reviews
on December 2, 2003
This text is not REALLY about caste. It is similar to Strathern's Gender of the Gift and her use of "Melanesia". Just as her book was epistemology rather than ethnography, so is Dumont's treatment of this phenomenon. He is actually using the theory of caste to explain his notion of hierarchy as the basic supposition within a culture as opposed to the western notions of equality/individualism. He, throughout the book, refers to the difference between IDEAL hierarchy (where power is completely subordinate to status) and CONCRETE hierarchy (where status is not absolute!). I would say this is a difficult text to begin with...and if you are looking for an ethnographic account of caste, you may find this text difficult to understand and disappointing. However, is you consider this an intellectual exercise in the nature of hierarchy and equality, you cannot find a better text!
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