Casteonwebs presentation at TISSPresentation Transcript
Caste on web Reproduction of caste identity on Orkut communities. Presented by- Urvi Shah Sunil Gangavane
Aims & Objectives
a) the ways in which online social networking sites such as Orkut discuss caste and caste - related ethnic identities, like reservations, inter-caste marriages. b) the involvement and engagement of the middle class youth in these spaces and how it affects their understanding of caste identity .
Caste : A social class separated from others by distinctions of hereditary rank, profession, or wealth.
Ethnicity : An ethnic quality or affiliation resulting from racial or cultural ties.
Youth : Online orkut community member, age of 18-28.
Religion : A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
Online virtual communities : A virtual online community is a group of people that primarily interact via communication media- email, internet social network service or instant messages rather than face to face, for social, professional or educational purposes.
“ It is an online community designed to make social life more active and stimulating”
Launched on 22 nd January, 2004 by Google.
India is the 2 nd largest user of Orkut.
Review of books
Dipankar Gupta in his book “Political sociology in India” gave us a basic idea about caste systems in India, ethnic values and cultural differences.
“ Castes with economic and political power do not think of sanskritizing their style of life but instead re-emphasize their discreet character by highlighting the superiority of their own ideologies, customs, rituals and styles of life.”- Gaurang Sahay, (Hierarchy, difference and the caste system.)
“ Caste has not changed but the potentialities that were always there within stratificatory system are now out in open, and in full view” – Dipankar Gupta, (The certitudes of caste.)
“ Caste never abolishes its own existence. With time, caste moves, it changes, it bends, it transforms and therefore it persists, hence it is best example of elasticity”.- Dr. Suhas Kulkarni, Jaat Navachi (Na sampnari) ghosht.
Pauline Kolenda in her book “ Caste in Contemporary India ”, compared Caste in rural and urban India focusing on Mumbai. Although we are getting urbanized we are not forgetting the caste system. But still there is a characteristic difference in attitude of rural and urban youth towards caste. Caste is an identity in rural India whereas name in urban India. People partition their personal and professional life when Caste issues come into picture (Purity and pollution, etc).
Questions after reading
Our references showed us how caste is transforming from rural to urban areas, but we got specifically interested into knowing how caste expresses itself in the information society?
More specifically ,we wanted to know how caste is being discussed on internet i.e. web sites and on online networking?
We wanted to know how caste identities are reproduced through online communities.
We noticed that youth are more vocal about caste online, even on a social networking site like Orkut . They have heated arguments, debates and discussions about caste.
We will identify and document some of these debates and discussions.
Initially, we spent 10 hours /week online for preliminary information about communities discussing caste & related issues.
We started observing Orkut caste communities, joined a few, categorized them and are keeping track of activities which are happening at these spaces.
We randomly selected 32 representative communities discussing various caste issues like-
Caste and politics
Inter caste marriage
Caste and gender
We selected 3 members from each community (total 96 members from 32 communities)to study their Orkut profile.
We are also planning to interview them online.
Our methodology also includes a participatory module in the form of a community which we created named “Caste??” to raise questions, ask doubts and elicit information from other members.
We have posted polls and forums in other communities and have started recording their responses.
In virtual communities, the following pattern is observed. Amy Jo Kim (2000) and Lave & Wenger
Snapshots of Orkut communities
List of 32 Communities with their number of members
1. Hinduism 1(131490)
2. Hinduism 2(39600)
3. Hinduism 3(68895)
4. The Hindu (7768)
5. I was born with no religion (11176)
6. No caste, no religion (1905)
7. India SC/ST/OBC Minority Union (1093)
8. No casteism only Hinduism (9264)
9. Against the caste system (5826)
10. Vaishnav Gujrati (11825)
11. Deshastha Brahmin (3934 )
12. Brahmin tradition and culture (6961 )
13. The Great Maratha (9095 )
14. 96 Kuli Maratha (40132 )
15. Dalit (818 )
16. Brahmin (33233 )
17. RSS Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh (57850)
18. I want to join RSS (674 )
19. BSP- Bahujan Samaj Party (728 )
20. Dalit feminism (538)
21. PANCHAMI dalit women focus(124 )
22. Scheduled Castes/Tribes (248)
23. We support reservation (590 )
24. OBC/SC/ST's against Reservation (658 )
25. A positive look at reservation (47 )
26. Engineers against Reservation (10896 )
27. Anti reservation forum (14352 )
28. I hate reservation (3483 )
29. Me favour Inter caste marriage (1837)
30. I love inter caste marriage (125 )
31. I hate inter caste marriage (13 )
32. Against the caste Communities (683)
During the period of our research, 29579 members increased in 32 communities in only 3 months.
The proportion of Boys : Girls is 81:19 . Almost all of them are highly qualified and many of them from metro cities.
Why girls are so less in caste communities?
What makes highly qualified youth join caste related communities?
Why communities like Hinduism have mostly members of higher castes?
Communities for/of Dalits are very less as compared to other higher caste, why is that so?
Why are politically influenced communities like RSS, BSP most updated ones?
Some of the supplementary questions which emerged through our preliminary research are:-
Schedule of activities
August to October: Literature review and formulating research topic.
November to January: Online data collections through online Interviewing & documenting existing discussions on caste related issues.