ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Economic Change, Politics and Caste

The Case of the Kongu Nadu Munnetra Kazhagam

An exploration of the interaction between economic factors and caste mobilisation, through a study of the Kongu Nadu Munnetra Kazhagam in western Tamil Nadu, enables an understanding of caste politics through a political economy approach. It is argued that economic factors decisively shape the mobilising agenda of caste-based parties such as the KNMK. It is also seen that social identities which feature so prominently in the politics of caste pride also often have an economic basis.

The authors are grateful to Baskaran and interviewees in Karur, Namakkal, Erode, Tiruppur, and Coimbatore who gave time to speak with us in April 2011. They thank a number of readers, including Katharine Adeney, Pushpa Arabindoo, Hugo Gorringe, and Judith Heyer for detailed comments that helped us rework earlier drafts of this article. The usual disclaimers apply.

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