‘So called caste’:S. N. Balagangadhara, the Ghent School and the Politics of grievance

Sutton, Deborah Ruth (2018) ‘So called caste’:S. N. Balagangadhara, the Ghent School and the Politics of grievance. Contemporary South Asia, 26 (3). pp. 336-349. ISSN 0958-4935

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Abstract

This article is concerned with the small but coherent lobby of political scholarship has emerged from a lineage of research supervision which centres on the charisma and ideas of S. N. Balagangadhara, a philosopher from the Centre for the Comparative Science of Cultures (Vergelijkende Cultuurwetenschap) at the University of Ghent. In particular, it examines the deployment of his ideas in a spate of recent scholarly and social media declarations that reject the existence of caste and, by extension, caste discrimination. This scholarship - characterised by circular reasoning, self- referencing and a poverty of rigour - has established a modest, if contentious and poorly reviewed, presence in academic spheres of dissemination. The ‘Ghent School’ describes a group of scholars who rely conspicuously on Balagangadhara’s concept of ‘colonial consciousness’, a crude derivative of Said’s thesis of Orientalism. The Ghent School maintain that all extant scholarship on Hinduism, secularism and caste represent an endurance of colonial distortions that act to defame India as a nation. This politics of affront finds considerable traction in diasporic contexts but has little, if any, resonance when mapped against the far more complex politics of caste in India.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Contemporary South Asia
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Contemporary South Asia on 16/07/2018, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09584935.2018.1498453
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3305
Subjects:
ID Code:
125865
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
30 Jul 2018 09:50
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
27 Sep 2020 04:36