Friday, February 1, 2013

Caste, globalization and hierarchies

I had earlier blogged about the debate on the contentious issue of globalization and capitalism reducing traditional hierarchies of caste and race. Do traditional barriers get impacted by the forces of globalization? 

A recent piece by Anand Teltumbde in the Economic and Political Weekly questions the hypothesis that caste inequalities are reduced by globalization and capitalism. He asserts that the benefits of globalization have not spread widely amongst the marginalized castes as claimed by others.
"Capitalist modernity coexists with the caste system but with globalisation, caste consciousness has deepened. The simplest example of such hybridisation can be seen in matrimo- nial advertisements by highly educated Indian Americans working in frontier industries seeking brides from their own sub-castes."
With the rise of dalit entrepreneurs and DICCI,  the issue of the impact of globalization on traditional caste structures definitely requires more analysis and study. Will entrepreneurship, access to capital and participation in the free market enable hitherto marginalized castes question hierarchies? Will ti enable them to overthrow traditional discrimination? Or will caste, discrimination revisit them in another form? Or will it not impact a large section of the marginalized at all? As always, the answer perhaps lies somewhere in the middle - globalization has not proved to be totally emancipatory but has also empowered and liberated some from the clutches of caste and marginalization.


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