Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 27 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Max Weber’s distinction between class and status, identifying caste as the latter, is the single most important influence on the mainstream sociology of caste. There is ambiguity in Weber’s conceptualization in the sense that the contrast between class and status is marked by precarity in the long run when stabilization of economic power serves as a condition for the predominance of status usurpations. This ambiguity remains unresolved in Weber’s conceptual formulation. Mainstream sociology of caste owing allegiance to Weber reifies the contrast between caste as status and class. In Weber, caste is part of global-historical enquiry. In mainstream sociology, caste is uniquely Indian. It is argued that a critical scrutiny separating the rational and historically verifiable from the irrational empirically-historically unverifiable elements in Weber’s conceptual and theoretical formulations will enrich the Weberian legacy. Similarly, historical, cross-cultural comparative study will liberate caste from the myth of Indian exceptionalism.

Keywords: class, status, caste, religion, political economy

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.