Rural class structure in India--a comparative study ...



Title Rural class structure in India--a comparative study of prestige classes in six Punjab villages
Author(s) Satadal Dasgupta
Journal The Eastern Anthropologist
Date 1976
Volume 29
Issue 4
Start page 373
End page 397
Abstract The objective was to examine the applicability of the value theory approach in delineating prestige classes in 6 Indian villages & to compare the stratification structures thus obtained in terms of their substantive value & social meaningfulness. A major hypothesis was that stratification structures based on prestige ranks of individuals would differ both in social meaningfulness & substantive value in developed & in less developed villages. Of 6 villages selected from the 169 villages in a development block in Central Punjab, 3 villages were selected from those considered most progressive (developed), & 3 were considered least developed. Several prestige judges were selected in each village & they ranked the prestige of household heads on a four-point scale. Stratification structures differed between the less & more developed villages. In the more developed villages: (1) structures were more open & less rigid, (2) the shape of the structure was pyramidal, (3) a greater proportion of lower caste persons moved up in prestige, (4) prestige class structures showed increasing differentiation from caste, (5) the r between prestige class & literacy & level of living was more pronounced, (6) the influence of caste & related occupation was less pronounced, & (7) there was an increasing evaluative emphasis on achievement-oriented performance. In the less developed villages: (A) the shape of the structure was like an hourglass, (B) mobility of lower caste persons was almost nonexistent, (C) the number of persons with status equilibrium was relatively greater, & (D) caste & related occupations were the most important determining factors of prestige. 8 Tables, 1 Figure. Modified AA.

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