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Is Caste Destiny? Occupational Diversification among Dalits in Rural India

Abstract

Among the most distinctive features of Indian caste system is the close link between castes and occupations, especially in rural India, with Dalits or Scheduled Castes (SCs) clustered in the least well-paid and most socially degrading occupations. We use several rounds of quinquennial surveys from the National Sample Survey Organisation to assess whether the historic relationship between caste status and occupational segregation has been weakened. We find that the occupational structure of the SC households is converging to that of the non-scheduled households. However, we do not find a similar occupational convergence for the Scheduled Tribes households.

Parmi la plupart des caractéristiques distinctives du système de castes indien, le lien étroit entre les castes et les professions, particulièrement dans l’Inde rurale, avec les Intouchables (Dalit) ou les aborigènes de l’Inde, est regroupé dans les professions les moins bien rémunérées et celles qui sont socialement les plus dégradantes. Nous utilisons plusieurs séries d’enquêtes quinquennales de l’organisation nationale d’enquête par sondage (NSSO) pour évaluer si les relations historiques entre le statut de caste et la ségrégation professionnelle ont été affaiblies. Nous constatons que la structure professionnelle des ménages des aborigènes de l’Inde est convergente à celle des ménages qui ne sont pas aborigènes. Cependant, nous ne trouvons pas de convergence professionnelle semblable pour les ménages des tribus répertoriées.

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Correspondence to Myeong-Su Yun.

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Gang, I.N., Sen, K. & Yun, MS. Is Caste Destiny? Occupational Diversification among Dalits in Rural India. Eur J Dev Res 29, 476–492 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41287-016-0011-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41287-016-0011-1

Keywords

  • caste
  • occupational diversification
  • poverty
  • scheduled caste
  • India