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Mobilizing the MarginalizedEthnic Parties without Ethnic Movements$
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Amit Ahuja

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190916428

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190916428.001.0001

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The Identity Trap

The Identity Trap

(p.177) 8 The Identity Trap
Mobilizing the Marginalized

Amit Ahuja

Oxford University Press

Ethnic identity, scholars remind us, is only one among the wide repertoire of identities to which an individual has access. Still, the marginalized struggle to break free of a single stigmatized identity. This chapter returns to Dalits’ choice of social identities. It argues Dalits’ ability to adopt new social identities is highly constrained because their social exclusion and material deprivation are self-reinforcing. When Dalits are able to choose alternate social identities, other groups do not recognize these identities. Dalits’ experience with stigma illustrates that it is difficult for a marginalized ethnic group to leverage political equality to remedy social inequality because the social stigma associated with a marginalized ethnic identity changes slowly.

Keywords:   Dalits, social identity, stigma, intercaste marriage, social exclusion, identity trap, social inequality, marginalized ethnic identity

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