Overlapping Identities

Ashwani Deshpande

in The Grammar of Caste

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780198072034
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081028 | DOI:
Overlapping Identities

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The previous chapters suggest that identity matters in the real world, even in strongly market-oriented situations. What happens when there are overlapping identities? There are several contexts where identity has multiple contours and every individual simultaneously has multiple identities: race, religion, nationality, gender, and so forth. This chapter focuses on two important definitions of identity in the Indian context: caste and gender. It reports the evidence on the changing nature of that overlap. In addition to economic indicators, it also discusses the evidence on women's autonomy and decision-making ability within the household and on domestic violence, based on two rounds of a large survey. Recent evidence suggests that women from castes lowest in the hierarchy are trapped in a cesspool of poverty, deprivation, and reduced autonomy.

Keywords: social identity; caste; gender; economic indicators; women's autonomy; deprivation; education; employment; women and work; labour force participation rates; gender–caste development index; domestic violence; exploitation

Chapter.  13141 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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