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Homo Hierarchicus

The Caste System and Its Implications

Second Edition, Revised

Complete English edition, revised
Louis Dumont’s modern classic, here presented in an enlarged, revised, and corrected second edition, simultaneously supplies that reader with the most cogent statement on the Indian caste system and its organizing principles and a provocative advance in the comparison of societies on the basis of their underlying ideologies. Dumont moves gracefully from the ethnographic data to the level of the hierarchical ideology encrusted in ancient religious texts which are revealed as the governing conception of the contemporary caste structure. On yet another plane of analysis, homo hierarchicus is contrasted with his modern Western antithesis, homo aequalis.

This edition includes a lengthy new Preface in which Dumont reviews the academic discussion inspired by Homo Hierarchicus and answers his critics. A new Postface, which sketches the theoretical and comparative aspects of the concept of hierarchy, and three significant Appendixes previously omitted from the English translation complete this innovative and influential work.

540 pages | 5.375 x 8.5 | © 1970, 1980

Nature of Human Society

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Table of Contents

Preface to the Complete English Edition
Preface to the First French Edition
Brief Note on Transliteration of Indian Words
1. Castes and ourselves
2. The individual and society
3. Individualism and holism
4. Rousseau on equality
5. Tocqueville on equality
6. Tocqueville on individualism
7. Necessity of hierarchy
Chapter 1: History of Ideas
11. Definition: the word ’caste’
12. Main attitudes
13. Voluntarist explanation
14. Caste as the limiting case of known institutions
15. ’Historical’ explanations
16. Composite explanations
17. The period 1900-1945
18. After 1945
Chapter II: From System to Structure: The Pure and the Impure
21. Element and system
22. The place of ideology
23. The notion of structure
24. The fundamental opposition
25. Pure and impure
26. Segmentation: caste and subcaste
Chapter III: Hierarchy: The Theory of the ’Varna’
31. On hierarchy in general
32. The theory of the varna: power and priesthood
33. Caste and varna
34. Hierarchy and power
35. Regional status ranking (1901 Census)
36. A local example (Central India)
37. Attribution or interaction?
Chapter IV: The Division of Labour
41. Caste and profession
42. The ’jajmani’ system
43. Conclusion
Chapter V: The Regulation of Marriage: Separation and Hierarchy
51. Importance of marriage
52. Endogamy: the usual view and its limitations
53. Hierarchy of marriages and conjugal unions
54. Isogamy and hypergamy
55. Some examples
56. Conclusion
57. The classical theory: marriage and varna
Chapter VI: Rules Concerning Contact and Food
61. Place within the whole
62. Notes on contact and untouchability
63. Food in general
64. Food and drink (water) in caste relations
65. On the history of vegetarianism
Chapter VII: Power and Territory
71. Introduction
72. The territorial framework: the ’little kingdom’
73. Rights, royal and other, over the land
74. The village
75. The problem of economics
Chapter VIII: Caste Government: Justice and Authority
81. From power to authority
82. Supreme authority in caste affairs
83. The ’village panchayat’
84. Internal caste government
85. Relations between jurisdictions: authority in general
Chapter IX: Concomitants and Implications
91. Introduction
92. Renunciation
93. The sect and its relations to the caste system: example of the ’Lingayat’
94. Tolerance and imitation
95. Diachronic implications: aggregation
96. Stability and change
97. Group kinetics: scission, aggregation, social mobility
Chapter X: Comparison: Are There Castes Among Non-Hindus and Outside India?
101. Introduction
102. Christians and caste
103. Caste among Muslims
104. The case of the Pathan of Swat
105. Caste among non-Hindus: conclusion
106. Fundamental characteristics for comparison
107. The school of ’social stratification’: caste and racism
108. Castes outside of India?
Chapter XI: Comparison (Concluded): The Contemporary Trend
111. The problem
112. Recent changes as portrayed by Ghurye
113. Complements
114. Is caste reinforcing itself?
115. From interdependence to competition
116. Provisional conclusion
117. Attempt at an inventory
118. Hierarchical society and egalitarian society: a summary comparative diagram
119. Conclusion
Postface: Toward a Theory of Hierarchy
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D

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