Caste and India’s Land Wars

With one paper in the special issue on caste and land in India still in production, the introduction to it has been published online. To appear in Issue 5 this year, “The Politics of Caste in India’s New Land Wars” is authored by Kenneth Bo Nielsen of the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, Siddharth Sareen of the Department of Geography, University of Bergen and Patrik Oskarsson of the Department of Urban and Rural Development at the Swedish Agricultural University.

The abstract for the paper states:

In this article we introduce the special issue through framing the debate on the role of caste in India’s current land wars. We draw attention to how caste consistently mediates land transfers in present day India by pre-empting, undermining, or fuelling processes of social contestation, as well as the ways in which land claims in turn shape realigned or reimagined caste identities. Based on this, we make three main arguments. The first and most obvious one is that in contemporary conflicts over land, caste matters in evolving ways that deserve attention. Second, we argue that caste and land are recursively linked categories that are produced and reproduced in continuous interaction, even as multi-scalar political economies (re)shape them. And third, that different registers of caste are articulated by different social groups in more or less overt ways as they stake often competing claims to land.

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