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Village Caste Gender And Method Essays In Indian Social Anthropology

Srinivas, Mysore Narasimhachar

Most widely held works about Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas


Most widely held works by Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas

Social change in modern India by Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas( Book )

61 editions published between 1963 and 2009 in 4 languages and held by 1,080 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

The remembered village by Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas( Book )

48 editions published between 1976 and 2012 in 3 languages and held by 745 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Sociological study of Rampura, a village in Karnataka

Caste in modern India, and other essays by Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas( Book )

48 editions published between 1962 and 1994 in English and Undetermined and held by 638 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Religion and society among the Coorgs of South India by Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas( Book )

48 editions published between 1952 and 2003 in English and Undetermined and held by 631 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

India's villages by Economic Weekly( Book )

81 editions published between 1955 and 2000 in 3 languages and held by 558 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

A collection of articles originally published in English about social life and customs and conditions of villages in India

The Fieldworker and the field : problems and challenges in sociological investigation by Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas( Book )

29 editions published between 1973 and 2008 in English and held by 471 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

With special reference to India

The dominant caste and other essays by Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas( Book )

14 editions published between 1987 and 1994 in English and held by 290 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Case studies of Rampura Village in Karnataka

Dimensions of social change in India by Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas( Book )

18 editions published between 1977 and 1978 in English and Undetermined and held by 217 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Collected essays by Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas( Book )

11 editions published between 2000 and 2005 in English and held by 180 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Articles on diverse aspects of social transformation in India

The cohesive role of sanskritization and other essays by Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas( Book )

8 editions published in 1989 in English and held by 168 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Village, caste, gender, and method : essays in Indian social anthropology by Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas( Book )

19 editions published between 1996 and 2001 in English and held by 150 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Social structure and change( Book )

in English and held by 149 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

On living in a revolution and other essays by Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas( Book )

8 editions published in 1992 in English and held by 136 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In Indian context

Marriage and family in Mysore by Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas( Book )

13 editions published between 1942 and 1979 in English and held by 125 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

India : social structure by Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas( Book )

17 editions published between 1969 and 1991 in English and Undetermined and held by 111 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Caste, its twentieth century avatar by Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas( Book )

11 editions published between 1996 and 1997 in English and held by 107 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

With reference to India; contributed articles

Women in Indian society( Book )

5 editions published in 1996 in English and held by 105 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Of particular note is the methodological approach adopted by the contributors. Moving beyond the usual internalist and externalist approaches to the gender question, the discussion focuses on the interplay between the familial domain and the external forces that impinge on it. Various essays explore issues related to the survival and nurturance of the girl chid, her access to education and participation in productive activity and, most importantly, her right to natal property. This discussion is located in the context of external developments such as improved irrigation and the commercialisation of agriculture, shifts in land ownership patterns and the dynamics of caste affiliations

Method in social anthropology; selected essays by A. R Radcliffe-Brown( Book )

40 editions published between 1958 and 1995 in 4 languages and held by 86 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Ben shu shi la de ke li fu- bu lang de zui hou yi bu yi zhu,Sui shi wen ji er fei zhuan zhu,Dan quan mian fan ying le shuo na zi jue si piao li shu chi jiao huan guo qiao zhi ren lei xue de dao lun zhi zuo

Some reflections on dowry by Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas( Book )

7 editions published between 1984 and 1988 in English and held by 79 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Study of the practice in India

The changing position of Indian women by Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas( Book )

6 editions published in 1978 in English and held by 57 WorldCat member libraries worldwide



Audience Level


Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas (1916–1999)[1] was an Indian sociologist.[2] He is mostly known for his work on caste and caste systems, social stratification, Sanskritisation and Westernisation in southern India and the concept of 'Dominant Caste'.


Srinivas was a Brahmin by birth and earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Bombay and went on to the University of Oxford for further studies. Although he had already written a book on family and marriage in Mysore and completed his PhD at University of Bombay before he went to the University of Oxford in the late forties for further studies, his training there was to play a significant role in the development of his ideas. Srinivas served in various institutions of repute like University of Delhi, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Institute for Social and Economic Change Bangalore and National Institute of Advanced Studies Bangalore.[3]

Contribution to Indian sociology and social anthropology[edit]

In the Frontline obituary he was described as India's most distinguished sociologist and social anthropologist.[3] His contribution to the disciplines of sociology and social anthropology and to public life in India was unique. It was his capacity to break out of the strong mould in which (the mostly North American university oriented) area studies had been shaped after the end of the Second World War on the one hand, and to experiment with the disciplinary grounding of social anthropology and sociology on the other, which marked his originality as a social scientist.[citation needed]

It was the conjuncture between Sanskritic scholarship and the strategic concerns of the Western Bloc in the aftermath of the Second World War which largely shaped South Asian area studies in the United States. During the colonial era, the Brahmins or Pandits were acknowledged as important interlocutors of Hindu laws and customs to the British colonial administration. The colonial assumptions about an unchanging Indian society led to the curious assemblage of Sanskrit studies with contemporary issues in most South Asian departments in the US and elsewhere. It was strongly believed that an Indian sociology must lie at the conjunction of Indology and sociology.[citation needed]

Srinivas' scholarship was to challenge that dominant paradigm for understanding Indian society and would in the process, usher newer intellectual frameworks for understanding Hindu society. His views on the importance of caste in the electoral processes in India are well known. While some have interpreted this to attest to the enduring structural principles of social stratification of Indian society, for Srinivas these symbolised the dynamic changes that were taking place as democracy spread and electoral politics became a resource in the local world of village society.[citation needed]

By inclination, he was not given to utopian constructions: his ideas about justice, equality and eradication of poverty were rooted in his experiences on the ground. His integrity in the face of demands that his sociology should take into account the new and radical aspirations was one of the most moving aspects of his writing. By the use of terms such as Sanskritisation, "dominant caste", "vertical (inter-caste) and horizontal (intra-caste) solidarities", Srinivas sought to capture the fluid and dynamic essence of caste as a social institution.[4]


As part of his methodological practice, Srinivas strongly advocated ethnographic research based on Participant observation,[5] but his concept of fieldwork was tied to the notion of locally bounded sites. Thus some of his best papers, such as the paper on dominant caste and one on a joint family dispute, were largely inspired from his direct participation (and as a participant observer) in rural life in south India. He wrote several papers on the themes of national integration, issues of gender, new technologies, etc. It is really surprising as to why he did not theorise on the methodological implications of writing on these issues which go beyond the village and its institutions. His methodology and findings have been used and emulated by successive researchers who have studied caste in India.

His The Remembered Village (1976) is considered a classic in this field. It is a study based on the 11 months he spent in the village in 1948 and on subsequent visits until 1964.[5]


He received many honours from the University of Bombay, the Royal Anthropological Institute, and the Government of France; he has received the Padma Bhushan[6] from the President of India; and he was the honorary foreign member of two prestigious academies: the British Academy and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Attributional approaches to caste[edit]

The scholars using the attributional approach stress the attributes of a caste. However each of them lays emphasis on one or other of these attributes and how they affect interaction. In the case of Srinivas writing in the 50's we find that he chooses to study the structure of relations arising between castes on the basis of these attributes. Thus he introduces a dynamic aspect of caste identity very forcefully.

This aspect becomes clearer in Srinivas's work on positional mobility known as 'Sanskritization'. Sanskritization is a process whereby a caste attempts to raise its rank within the caste hierarchy by adopting the practice, the attributes of the caste or castes above them, in the rank order. This is to say the 'low' attributes are gradually dropped and the 'high' attributes of the castes above them are imitated. This involves adoption of vegetarianism, clean occupations and so on. Closely connected is the concept of dominant caste. The dominant caste in a village is conspicuous by its:

  1. Sizeable numerical presence
  2. Ownership of land
  3. Political power


  • Marriage and Family in Mysore (1942)
  • Religion and Society Among the Coorgs of South India (1952)
  • Caste in Modern India and other essays (1962), Asia Publishing House
  • The Remembered Village (1976, reissued by OUP in 2013)
  • Indian Society through Personal Writings (1998)
  • Village, Caste, Gender and Method (1998)
  • Social Change in Modern India
  • The Dominant Caste and Other Essays (ed.)
  • Dimensions of Social Change in India


External links[edit]

  1. ^Barry Bearak, M. N. Srinivas Is Dead at 83; Studied India's Caste System, The New York Times, 3 December 1999.
  2. ^M.N. Srinivas: Obituary in the Hindu FrontlineArchived 4 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine..
  3. ^ abMenon, Parvathi. "A scholar remembered". Frontline. The Hindu. Archived from the original on 17 August 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  4. ^Social Change in Modern India, Orient Longman, New Delhi, 2000.
  5. ^ abJamie Cross "Book Review: The Remembered Village", London School of Economics blog, 5 September 2013
  6. ^Govt of India — List of Padma Bhushan Awardees.