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Caste, Market and Climate Change 
Neha Hui (University of Reading)
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Palmer 1.06
Thursday 29 June, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

This panel seeks theoretical & empirical research looking at links between the caste system, market economy and climate change. We examine if caste based rigidities are reinforced in the current market & climate regime, & how caste based inequalities affect climate adaptability and vulnerabilities.

Long Abstract:

Caste, an archaic institution, continues to be relevant in determining life opportunities in South Asia and the South Asian diaspora. The caste system is built on structures of advantage and discrimination which have important bearing on the modern economy (Mosse, 2018). In this panel we invite theoretical and empirical papers in an under-researched area that looks at the overlap of the caste system, its manifestations in the market economy and how environmental factors perpetuate and are reinforced by inequalities associated with caste.

The link between the environment and the caste system is deep rooted and exist both in ideological as well as practical levels. Caste system relates to notions of ritual pollution and purity, and the maintenance of the system requires separation of higher castes from ‘dirt’. This means that occupations that are hazardous and associated with wastes and emulsions have historically been lower caste’s specialisation. Does market expansion and climate change policies reinforce such caste based occupational rigidities?

Equally, historical inequality in land ownership and access to water means that outcomes associated with climate change disproportionately affect people of lower caste. Such differences in power relations in access to resources imply differences in vulnerability and adaptability to climate change. This panel also invites papers on caste-based climate adaptability and the intersection with other identities like gender and ethnicity.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 29 June, 2023, -