Accepted paper:

Situating Dalits in Urbanizing India: The Dilemma of Segregation-Discrimination and Desegregation


Anil Kumar Patel (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)

Paper short abstract:

In the proposed paper, spatiality and socio-spatial aspects of the caste, particularly the Dalits, is the primary focus. The aim of the paper is to trace the trajectory of socio-spatial segregation of Dalits in the contours of urbanizing India. The paper proposes that there is an involuntary socio-spatial compartmentalization in the urbanizing India that functions through the institution of caste. Combined with various socio-cultural and economic factors, socio-spatial segregation of Dalits in Indian society leads to exclusion and marginalization.

Paper long abstract:

Graded inequality, spatial organization and hierarchical access to various societal and natural resources is a distinctive feature of Indian society which is based on the caste system. There are several contexts, arenas and structures in which disadvantages of caste discrimination are internalized and articulated in the formal and informal structures of the nation and its cultures. The processes of industrialization and urbanization have definitely contributed to the growth of slums and ghettos in India but the salient feature of socio-spatial segregation in India is its linkage to caste system. The main objective is to trace out the socio-spatial segregational patterns of Dalits in the urban population and to see the socio-spatial relations of the Dalits to their neighborhood. In the context of caste system associated with strong socio-spatial segregation, the paper tries to delineate the extent to which the urbanization process strengthens the desegregation or segregation and discrimination to Dalits.

panel MMM21
Caste, community and class identities of Dalits in a global context