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New Subaltern PoliticsReconceptualizing Hegemony and Resistance in Contemporary India$
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Alf Gunvald Nilsen and Srila Roy

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199457557

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199457557.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 12 May 2021

Recovering Caste Privilege

Recovering Caste Privilege

The Politics of Meritocracy at the Indian Institutes of Technology

Chapter:
(p.76) 3 Recovering Caste Privilege
Source:
New Subaltern Politics
Author(s):

Ajantha Subramanian

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199457557.003.0004

This chapter shows how autonomy exists as a belief and fought for privilege amongst upper caste elites. Lower caste mobilization has had a considerable impact in terms of challenging upper caste hegemony in contemporary India. However, the study of caste in Indian politics, the chapter contends, remains incomplete if we do not take cognizance of upper caste responses to such assertion. In the context of its case study of Indian technical education, this response has materialized in the form of a discourse in which ‘merit’ and ‘meritocracy’ is systematically related to being upper caste and to the reproduction of hegemony. The chapter's underscoring of the ways in which the politics of the powerful is shaped by the politics of the powerless emphasizes the need to think of hegemony in processual and dynamic terms rather than as a monolithic ideological edifice.

Keywords:   meritocracy, caste, hegemony, Indian Institute of Technology, assertion, elite

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