Natural Hierarchies. The Historical Sociology of Race and Caste

  • ID: 2250881
  • Book
  • 304 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Natural Hierarchies adopts a highly original approach to trace the emergence and development of social rank in our present–day world. The author draws upon traditional methods used in the social sciences, detailed accounts of historical events in Europe, the Indian subcontinent, the Caribbean, and mainland America, to illustrate how meanings of race and caste have been transformed mainly through political struggles, and particularly in the context of colonialism.

This new and highly provocative analysis looks at ideas of hierarchy in the light of the latest historical, anthropological, and sociological evidence to generate understanding of present struggles in race and ethnic relations. It is a well–reasoned account that illuminates the strong historical links between the idea of hierarchy and concepts of race and caste.

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List of Figures.


Part I: Race, Caste, and Hierarchy.

1. Race and Caste as Natural Hierarchies.

2. Race.

3. Caste.

4. Hierarchy.

5. History and Ambivalence: a Place in the Sociological Debate.

Part II: Theoretical Constructions.

6. Introduction.

7. Essentialism and Anti–essentialism.

8. Structure.

9. Culture, Practice, and Symbol.

10. History.

11. Conclusion.

Part III: Economic and Political Formations.

12. Introduction.

13. European capitalism, Indian Capitalism?.

14. Political formations.

15. Europe.

16. India.

17. Nations and Citizenries.

Part IV: Race, Slavery, and Colonialism. .

18. Introduction.

19. Slavery.

20. Race and colonial society.

21. Race and Political Thought in Early Modern Europe.

Part V: Race, Caste and the Person. .

22. Introduction.

23. Race, Caste and Kinship.

24. Caste, kinship, and Gender in India.

25. Race, Kinship, and Gender in the Caribbean.

Part VI: Race, Caste and the Nation. .

26. Introduction.

27. Race and the Creolization in the Caribbean.

28. Euro–creole.

29. Afro–creole.

30. Caudillismo.

31. Caste, communalism, and the Nation in Contemporary India.

Part VII: Hierarchy and Politics. .

32. Hierarchy and a Sociology of Politics.

33. Hierarchy and a Politics of Sociology.



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"Natural Hierarchies is an insightful study of the complex ways in which race and social relations are grounded in specific historical and cultural contexts. Through its rare combination of clearly argued theoretical analyses and empirical research it forces all of us working on these questions to rethink our research agendas and key concepts."John Solomos, South Bank University

"This wide–ranging book considers political ideologies, European colonialism, and classical and contemporary social theory, especially that of Marx and Levi–Strauss." S. D. Borchert, Lake Erie College.

"an interesting work." Contemporary Sociology

"Smaje′s book is a major contribution to the area. It is ambitious, erudite, and insightful." Ethnic and Racial Studies

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