Classes and Factions

M.N. Srinivas

in The Remembered Village

Second edition

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780198077459
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081165 | DOI:

Series: Oxford India Perennials Series

Classes and Factions

Show Summary Details


This chapter notes that the hierarchical system of caste was compounded by another hierarchical system based on the possession of differential rights in land. There was a two-way relationship between landownership and caste rank. Traditionally, ownership of land conferred respectability and prestige, and this was translated into caste rank. In contrast, a high ritual rank unaccompanied by landownership produced anomalous situations. Patron-client relationships stemmed directly from possession of differential rights in land. All those who worked for a landowner, tenants, servants, and labourers on the one hand, and members of the artisan and servicing castes on the other, tended to become his clients. The landownership pattern, and caste and lineage systems provided the basis for factions. The division of a village into two or more mutually opposed factions was a permanent feature of rural social structure.

Keywords: patron-client relationships; land-based hierarchy; factions; caste rank; rural social structure

Chapter.  9144 words. 

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.