Belgaum, in India's southern state of Karnataka, is a city that has consistently found itself in the news since the 1950s. The media interest is due to issues arising from its ethnic character. The city is home to multiple linguistic groups with Kannada and Marathi both contending for linguistic, and consequently, social and political prominence.
This fractious backdrop forms the basis of the present book. Ethnicity and Class interrogates issues of ethnic identity in terms of their social location and historicity. Furthermore, it seeks to demonstrate the significance of class in analyzing the dynamics of social life and its contribution in India. What emerges, in consequence, is the notion that a comprehensive understanding of Indian society needs to move beyond the narrow confines of single indicators like caste, religion or language, to more inclusive concepts.
The focus of Belgaum as a paradigm becomes a means to examine the very fabric of urban life with its uneasy mix of religion, sect, caste, language, and class.
In a perceptive Foreword, noted Indian sociologist Andre Beteille introduces the work and situates it in the context of collective identities and their complexities.
This volume will be useful to social scientists, media commentators, and any one interested in comprehending social dynamics in contemporary India.
About the Author:
Gopa Sabharwal is Reader in Sociology Ram College, University of Delhi. She is currently working on a study of the story of Indian broadcasting.
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