Caste, Jobs and Scheduled Castes

Dr Jayabrata Sarkar1

1Deshbandhu College, India

The weakening of the caste system in India in the traditional and ritualistic sense has coincided with the emergence of a modernized caste identity among dominant castes. One aspect of it is the institutional manifestation in urban employment where the ‘traditional’ patron-client networks of order and hierarchy have been firmly established upon erstwhile ‘service (Scheduled Castes) castes.’ This paper seeks to explore the relationship between caste perceptions of dominant (white-collar upper caste) groups that operate as structures of social control in recruitment in ‘quota-based’ public sector and ‘merit-progress’ private sector and the complex interlinkages and access that it has to resources, privilege and power which operate in the ‘two employment sectors’ that has serious implications for the job-seeking ability of SCs affected by its continual and varied process of exploitation. Questions related to emergence of a paternalistic caste narrative that consolidated between a compensatory discrimination law and social justice goals; a neo-hegemonic discourse of a ‘secular’ and ‘casteless’ work space in the post 1990 Indian private sector consolidating the material resources gained in public sector into modern (private) ‘caste’ capital; ‘meritocratic’ hiring practices that demerits by intent and design the SCs entry in the private sector etc. would be explored.


Dr. Jayabrata Sarkar is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science in Deshbandhu College, University of Delhi. His area of specialization engages in a relationship between marginality/exclusion, identity politics and deprivation and a focus on a broader parameter of globalization, human security and social protest/movements.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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