Workshop 3



  • Dr. Thanuja Mummidi

Anthropologist (Pondicherry University, Puducherry)

Invited Tutors:

  • Prof. Venkatesh Athreya

Economist (Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, Chennai)

  • Dr. Alexandra De Heering

Historian (University of Namur; IFP, Puducherry)

  • Prof. D.N. Dhanagare

Sociologist (Former Vice Chancellor, Shivaji University, Kolhapur)

  • Prof. Partha N. Mukherji

Sociologist (Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi)


Caste, class, structure, stratification and status have been the mainstay of sociological/social anthropological research on Indian society. Research on social mobility introduced as early as the 1930’s (Sorokin, 1937) in the west was slow to catch up in India in its given specificity. This specificity lies in the challenge of disentangling the mainstay concepts. With time social mobility research in India has progressed taking into consideration new dimensions of inequality. Consequently, social mobility research both from the conceptual and methodological aspects is made dynamic. This workshop hopes to encourage and orient a young generation of research scholars to probe this dynamism.

The workshop follows the following sequence: Day 1 is devoted exclusively to methodology of social science. Day 2 and part of Day 3 follow up with methodological and substantive research and issues in social mobility research specific to India. Day 3 also attempts to initiate the group into thinking over specific research designs as an outcome of the series of lectures. The concluding Day 4 is devoted to Group Work Restitution, sharing workshop experience and results.

Readings and online resources

Athreya, V.B, G. Djurfeldt and L Staffan. (1990), Barriers Broken: Production Relations and Agrarian Change in Tamil Nadu. Sage: New Delhi.

Benei, V (2010), “To Fairly Tell: Social Mobility, Life Histories, and the Anthropologist”, Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 40(2), pp. 199-212.

Carswell, G. and De Neve, G. (2014), “MGNREGA in Tamil Nadu: a story of success and transformation?”, Journal of Agrarian Change, 14 (4), pp. 564-585. ISSN 1471-0358

Carswell, Grace M and De Neve, Geert (2013), “From Field to Factory: Tracing Bonded Labour in the Coimbatore Powerloom Industry, Tamil Nadu”, Economy and Society, 42(3), pp. 430-454. ISSN 0308-5147

C.J. Fuller and H. Narasimhan, (2008), “From Landlords to Software Engineers: Migration and Urbanization Among Tamil Brahmans”, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 50(1), pp. 170-196.

De Neve, Geert (2015), “Predatory Property: Urban Land Acquisition, Housing and Class Formation in Tiruppur, South India”, Journal of South Asian Development, 10(3), pp. 345-368. ISSN 0973-1741

Dhanagare, D.N. (2016). Populism and Power: Farmers Movement in western India, 1980-2014. Routledge: Oxon.

Djurfeldt, G. , V.B. Athreya,, (2008), “Agrarian Change and Social Mobility in Tamil Nadu”, Economic and Political Weekly, pp. 50-61.

Gupta, Dipankar (Ed.), (1992), Social Stratification (2nd enlarged edition), New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Krishna, A. (2014), “Examining the Structures of Opportunity and Social Mobility in India: Who Becomes an Engineer”, Development and Change, 45(1), pp. 1-28.

Mukherji, P. N. (2004), “Introduction: Indigeneity and Universality in Social Science”, in Partha N. Mukherji, P. N.  and Chandan Sengupta (Eds), Indigeneity and Universality in Social Science: A South Asian Perspective, New Delhi, Sage Publications, pp. 15-65.

Mukherji, P.N.( 2012), “Social Mobility and Social Structure: Towards a Conceptual-methodological Re-orientation”, Sociological Bulletin, 61(1), pp. 26-52.

Naudet, Jules, (2008), “Paying Back to Society: Upward Social Mobility Among Dalits”, Contributions to Indian Sociology, Vol. 42, No, 3, pp. 413-41

Osella, F and C. Osella, (2000) Social Mobility in Kerala: Modernity and Identity in Conflict. Pluto Press, London.

Shah, Ghanshyam, Harsh Mander, Sukhdeo Thorat, Satish Deshpande and Amita Baviskar (2006), Untouchability in Rural India. New Delhi, Sage Publications.

Sharma, K.L. (Ed.) (1986), Social Stratification in India, New Delhi: Manohar Publication.

Sharma, K.L.(Ed.) (1995), Social Inequality in India – Profiles of Caste, Class, Power and Social Mobility, Essays in Honour of Professor Yogendra Singh, Jaipur: Rawat Publications. (especially articles by K.N. Sharma, Nandu Ram, and also by C. Rajgopalan and Jaspal Singh.

Vaid, D. (2014). Class and Social Mobility. Seminar 663.

Methodological approaches in social sciences

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