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

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Forking Paths

Re-envisioning Experience, Caste, and the Everyday Social—II

Sasheej Hegde is grateful to the authors Gopal Guru and Sundar Sarukkai for their lively participation in a symposium on the book organised by the Department of Sociology, University of Hyderabad on 3 March 2020, which also oversaw a critical input from Aseem Prakash of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad and Parthasarathi Muthukaruppan of English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. The event was, fortunately, just before the COVID-19 disruption, although the latter explains largely the delay in our rendition. This paper also celebrates the over three decades of friendship between its two authors—and, even as it bears the brunt of a writing style intrinsic to one of them, the foray marks their shared interests and concerns, at once analytical, ethical and political (of the order of “maitri” as encapsulated in Experience, Caste, and the Everyday Social).

This part of the paper deals with the descriptive orientation of the text—Experience, Caste and the Everyday Social, that is consistent with its phenomenological thrust.


Quite apart from the problem of the everyday social from which it approaches caste, perhaps the most striking feature of Gopal Guru and Sundar Sarukkai’s Experience, Caste, and the Everyday Social (ECES) is its descriptive orientation, one consistent with its overall phenomenological thrust. Our detailed enumeration of its pages thus far was also, definitively, meant to capture aspects of this orientation. Without doubt, while there are decisive “limits” to this descriptive thrust as flagged, there are some further matters of description that we want to highlight here as a way of re-envisioning ECES. Again, while our passage through the work, in its own words, is more or less complete for the moment, we can still strive to reorder its priorities—raise the stakes, as it were, of both description and the work of observation that can (and must) underscore it. Needless to say, we shall only be striking some very broad and resolute notes here.

A Matter of Description: Raising the Stakes

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Updated On : 25th Jul, 2021
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