GASA Week 5- Status Oct 10 2012
- don't need to be well- structured, just thoughtful and interesting, show the things learned
from lectures and readings.
- Week 1-5 cosmology, embryology,
- 1-2 pages for each question
Part1- how it is determined?
Reading 5.1- Dumont, Louis,
- Hierarchy is based on purity and occupation
- Ranking on a purity- pollution scale, into many castes (jati)
- 3 characteristics:
1. Separation in matters of marriage and contact, whether direct or indirect
2. Division of labour, each group having, in theory or by tradition, a profession from which its
members can depart only within certain limits
3. Hierarchy, which ranks the groups as relatively superior or inferior to one another
- from traditional india, 2 Ranking in 4 orders of power (varnas):
1. Brahmin (priest/ scholar), has more power than the king
2. Ksatriya (king, warrior)
3. Vaisya (merchant, farmer)
4. Sudra (servant)
* And those below the ranking, once termed “untouchables”, now “harijan” or “dalit”.*
- jati system is more self- recognizing,
- The two systems sometimes overlapping
- Hard to match the two together, because ranking based on different points.
Part 2- how it is demonstrated?
- Patrick Olivelle (2008), the use of appearance to denote status, at three points across Asia
Reading 5.2- Olivelle, Patrick (2008)
- Hair and Society, Social Significance of Hair in South Asian Traditions
- 3 modes of Males from South Asia: Groomed, unkempt, shaven
- Happened in the fashion
- Groomed hair: marks membership of normal society. People in south asia do not like to
show their hair un-groomed in public.
- Loose or disheveled hair: marks departure from society. Gave up all things to look for
higher spiritual things. Can also show temporary departure from the society, like in the
- Shaved hear: demonstrates purity, marks a separation from society or purification on
entry/ reentry into society. Shave a baby’s head to show the welcome of the baby into the
- When a widow shaved her hair, she’s trying to show that she is leaving the social group she
used to be (married people), and to show she is entering a new social group.
- Exceptions- Sikh male. Should not cut their hair. Long hair of Hindu holy man is showing he
is householder. To show both statuses: a holy man and a householder.
Clothing Matters: - The arrival of European clothing styles in South Asia, invited participation for