Social Stratification: An Interdisciplinary Discourse
Dev N. Pathak
RECONSIDERING SOCIAL IDENTIFICATION:RACE, GENDER, CLASS AND CASTE by Abdul R. JanMohamed Routledge, New Delhi, 2011, 2011, 451 pp., 995
December 2011, volume 35, No 12

The boredom of teaching and learning social stratification in the ambit of social science is nearly an abiding experience in academia. Teachers end up recycling the monolithic categories and students learn the trick of obtaining good grades in the course. The categories of social stratification, such as race, gender, class and caste, appear merely as indices-in-a-moribund genre. They do not trigger the imagination of students. Teachers fail to rejuvenate any fresh debate. Eventually everyone concludes that a course in social stratification has no room for new possibilities. Abdul JanMohamed’s edited volume offers a discourse that can repudiate this. There is no dearth of possibilities for new stances. Reading this volume affirms that there is a good enough space for teachers to explore contemporary social theories and restructure the study of social stratification as an engaging discourse.

However, the prerequisite is to transcend the limits of social science, aptly characterized as ‘epistemological fallacy’, which restricts it to intellectually arrogant and dominant sets of knowledge. Only then can we understand the categories that appear like hackneyed anchorage in a reified discourse as dynamic lived-reality. By juxtaposing epistemological knowledge with somatic-ontological complexities, these categories assume relational value. A student of social stratification might begin to understand thereby their deeper implications.

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