Highly stigmatized groups usually have ways of imagining alternatives. How alternatives are imagined varies by generation and over time; and the language in which they are couched also varies. The panel seeks to explore the extent of this variation cross-culturally.
Social ostracism and discrimination affects an estimated 260 million Dalits (ex-Untouchables) in South Asia. Similar despised groups (e.g. Burakumin, Gypsies) exist in many parts of the world. Their experiences of the remembered past and recent changes vary, sometimes radically, over time and by generation and gender. Through these experiences they imagine a changed future and diverse courses of action, ideal or practical, required to materialise this imagination. The languages and idioms—whether religious, political, legal, or some combination—in which their aspirations for liberation are couched also vary. In some cases a complete revolution is desired, in others only cautious adjustment is deemed sufficient. In some cases political mobilization is seen as the only answer (Gorringe, Panthers in Parliament, 2017), in others education and assimilation are seen as minimum requirements. It seems unlikely that there remain any cases where inequality is accepted as natural and inevitable. In this panel we invite papers that address the different ways in which stigmatized groups—anywhere in the world— imagine change and hope to instantiate that change.