The Caste Structure

André Béteille

in Caste, Class and Power

Third edition

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780198077435
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081080 | DOI:

Series: Oxford India Perennials Series

The Caste Structure

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  • Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility


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This chapter describes the basic features of the caste structure. The population of Sripuram is divided into a large number of castes or jatis. Differences between castes are carried in the matter of women’s dress. The differential importance of Sanskrit and Tamil, with regard to the styles of living of the Brahmins and Non-Brahmins, can be seen in the choice of personal names. Brahmins do not accept cooked food from Non-Brahmins or Adi-Dravidas, although both of the latter accept food from the Brahmins. It is shown that Brahmins who are a segment of the rural society of Sripuram themselves constitute a segmentary system. The bulk of the Non-Brahmin population of Sripuram belongs to what may be very broadly described as cultivating castes. Brahmin, Non-Brahmin, and Adi-Dravida are linked with different degrees of social honour or esteem.

Keywords: caste structure; Sripuram; Brahmin; Non-Brahmin; Adi-Dravida; Sanskrit; Tamil

Chapter.  20630 words. 

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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