RCIN and OZwRCIN projects


Title: Caste and Ethnicity in South India: A Case Study of the Konkani People in Kochi


Kaczmarek-Subramanian, Alina

Date issued/created:


Resource type:



Etnografia Polska 64 z. 1-2 (2020)


Instytut Archeologii i Etnologii Polskiej Akademii Nauk

Place of publishing:



24 cm

Type of object:



This article attempts to present the problem of caste and ethnicity in the 2010s based on anthro¬pological and sociological insights applicable to the case study of the Konkani people who inhabit the city of Kochi in southern India. Applying the theory of ethnicity (Natrajan, Reddy) and ethnographic inquiry, the article investigates the question of how in the democratic state of India, having officially abolished the caste system moe than 70 years ago, the caste situation really looks and how it overlaps with newer identity formations such as ethnicity. Though the framework of caste has been changed, it still can be found in new forms. One of those niches is the Konkani community in he urban environment of Kochi. This paper portrays current ways of cultivating caste in the reality of a democratic state, where the traditional caste system interweaves with the broader national, ethnic, educational, and economic awarenesses, which are of an entirely different nature


Anderson Benedict 2006 Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Verso, London
Appadurai Arjun 1992, Putting Hierarchy in Its Place, [in:] George Marcus (ed.), Rereading Cultural Anthropology, Duke University Press Books, Durham, pp. 34–47
Appadurai Arjun 2005, Nowoczesność bez granic: Kulturowe wymiary globalizacji, translationZ. Pucek, Universitas, Kraków
Appadurai Arjuna 2009, Strach przed mniejszościami. Esej o geografii gniewu, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, Warszawa
Barnett Steve 1975, Approaches to Changes in Caste Ideology in South India, [in:], Burton Stein (ed.), Essays on South Asia, University Press of Hawaii, Hawaii, pp. 149–180
Barth Fredrik 1969, Introduction, [in:] Fredrik Barth (ed.), Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Culture Difference, Johansen & Nielsen Boktrykkeri, Oslo, pp. 9–38
Bernard, K. L. 2015, History of Fort Cochin, n.d., Fort Cochin
Bouglé Célestin 1971, Essays on the Caste System, University Press, Cambridge
Brass Paul 1991, Ethnicity and Nationalism: Theory and Comparison, SAGE Publications, New Delhi
Demski Dagnosław 2006, Questions of Inequality and Collective Experience. Hinduism from Several Different Perspectives, Archeologia Polona, Vol. 44, pp. 213–230
Demski Dagnosław 2007, Obrazy hinduizmu. Kultura i religia oczami radżputów i pasterzy, Instytut Archeologii i Etnologii PAN, Warsaw
Dirks Nicholas 1996, Introduction, [in:] Cohn Bernard, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge: The British in India, Princeton University Press, Princeton, pp. ix–xvii
Dirks Nicholas 2002, Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India, Princeton University Press, Princeton
Dumont Louis 1974, Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and Its Implications, University of Chicago Press, Chicago
Fuller Chris 1996, Introduction: Caste Today, [in:] Fuller Chris (ed.), Caste Today, Oxford University Press, Delhi, pp. 1–31
Geertz Clifford 1973, Interpretation of Cultures. Selected Essays, Basic Books, New York
Ghurye Govind Sadashiv 1961, Caste, Class, and Occupation, Popular Book Depot, Mumbai
Gupta Dipankar 2000, Interrogating Caste: Understanding Hierarchy and Difference in Indian Society, Penguin Books, New Delhi
Gupta Dipankar 2004, pIntroduction: The Certitudes of Caste: When Identity Trumps Hierarchy, [in:] G. Dipankar (ed.), Caste in question: Identity or hierarchy?, SAGE Publications, London, pp. ix–xxi
Karp Artur 2002A, Kasty hinduiskie, Religia. Encyklopedia PWN, Vol. 5, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN SA, Warsaw, pp. 387–388
Karp Artur 2002B Manusmriti, Religia. Encyklopedia PWN, Vol. 6, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN SA, Warsaw, pp. 405–407
Kieniewicz Jan 2003, Historia Indii, Zakł. Nar. im. Ossolińskich, Wrocław
Kolås Åshild 2015, Framing the tribal: ethnic violence in Northeast India, Asian Ethnicity, Vol. 18, pp. 22–37
Kolenda Pauline1985, Caste in Contemporary India: Beyond Organic Solidarity, Waveland Pr Inc, Illinois
Kurien Prema 2002, Kaleidoscopic Ethnicity: International Migration and the Reconstruction of Community Identities in India, Rutgers University Press, New York
Mallaya Lakshmana 2016, Mahajan. The Konkani Culture, Lustre and Heritage, n.d., Cochin
Mani Braj Ranjan 2005, Debrahmanising History: Dominance and Resistance in Indian Society, Manohar Publishers & Distributors, n.d.
Mayer Adrian 1996, Caste in Contemporary India: Change and Continuity 1954–1992, [in:] Ch. Fuller (ed.), Caste Today, Oxford University Press, Delhi, pp. 32–64
Mines Mattison 1984, The Warrior Merchants. Textiles, Trade and Territory in SouthIndia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
Muller Max 1869, Chips From a German Workshop, Charles Scribner & Co, New York
Natrajan Balmurli 2005, Caste, Class and Community in India: An Ethnographic Approach, Ethnology, Vol. 44, No. 3, pp. 227–241
Natrajan Balmurli 2012a, From Jati to Samaj, Seminar (Delhi, India), Vol. 633, pp. 54–57
Natrajan Balmurli 2012b, The Culturalization of Caste in India: Identity and Inequality in a Multicultural Age, Routledge, New York
Phadnis Urmila1990, Ethnicity and Nation Building in South Asia, Sage Publications, New Delhi
Reddy Deepa 2005, The Ethnicity of Caste, Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 78, no. 3, pp. 543–584
Priya Arya 2016, Ethnicity in Post-Independent India: A Sociological Perspective on Its Causes and Manifestations, IOSR Journal Of Humanities And Social Science, Vol. 21, no. 1, ver. 5 (Jan. 2016), pp. 56–61
Sadasivan Sivanandamandiram Narayanan 2000, A Social History of India, APH Publishing, New Delhi
Schermerhorn R.A. 1978, Ethnic Plurality in India, University of Arizona Press, Tucson
Sheth D. L. 1999, Secularisation of Caste and Making of New Middle Class, Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 34 (34/35), pp. 2502–2510
Srinivas Mysore Narasimhachar 1952, Religion and Society Among the Coorgs of South India, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, London
Voices… 2013, Voices of Fort Kochi/Mattancherry, (ed.) Meena Divakar, n.d., Cochin


Etnografia Polska





Start page:


End page:


Detailed Resource Type:




Resource Identifier:

oai:rcin.org.pl:158875 ; 0071-1861 ; doi:10.23858/EP64.2020.009


IAiE PAN, call no. P 326 ; IAiE PAN, call no. P 327 ; IAiE PAN, call no. P 325 ; click here to follow the link




Creative Commons Attribution BY 4.0 license

Terms of use:

Copyright-protected material. [CC BY 4.0] May be used within the scope specified in Creative Commons Attribution BY 4.0 license, full text available at: ; -

Digitizing institution:

Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Original in:

Library of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Projects co-financed by:

Ministry of Science and Higher Education ; Operational Program Digital Poland, 2014-2020, Measure 2.3: Digital accessibility and usefulness of public sector information; funds from the European Regional Development Fund and national co-financing from the state budget. ; European Union. European Regional Development Fund





Citation style:

This page uses 'cookies'. More information