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LOUIS DUMONT
LOUIS DUMONT
Thessaloniki
11 AUGUST 1911
LOUIS CHARLES JEAN DUMONT
BIRTH
BIRTH
PLAC
E
FULL
NAME
EDUCATION
Dumont began his academic career in the mid-
1930s under the guidance of Marcel Mauss, leading
sociologist and Sanskritist. World War II interrupted
his studies, but not entirely. He was taken as
prisoner of war and was detained in a factory on the
outskirts of Hamburgh. There, he studied German
1. Louis Dumont was a French
anthropologist, sociologist, and
Indologist who was an
outstanding person in the field
of sociology and anthropology.
2. He was determined and
debated on India and the West.
He studied different societies
and did an inter-civilizational
comparison.
3. Dumont also studied Sanskrit
and spent one year in Tamil
Nadu learning about Pramalai
Kallar. He spent a few years in
India roaming and gathering
knowledge from different parts
of India. He visited Tamil Nadu
and Gorakhpur.
4. His main focus studies where
on Hinduism, kinship, caste in
ancient India and Sociopolitical
movements of modern India. He
also succeeded M.N Srinivas as a
Lecturer at Oxford University in
the field of Indian Sociology.
WORKS OF LOUIS DUMONT :
1. La Tarasque (1951)
2. One sous-caste de Inde du sud: Organization
sociale et religion des pramalai Kallar
(1957)
3. Hierarchy and Marriage Alliance in South India
(1957)
4. Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and Its
Implications (1966, 1970)
5. Religion, Politics and History in India: Collected
Papers in Indian Sociology (1970)
6. Homo aequalis (1977
The chief elements of his methodology are:
1. Ideology and structure
2. Dialectic transformational
relationship and comparison
3. Indological and
structuralist approach
4. Cognitive historical approach
Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and
Its Implications
 In 1966 he produced a work named The Caste
System and its Implications.
 His work is different from others in the sense
that it uses a cardinal explanatory way to the
hierarchy to which it gives a whole new model.
 Dumont explored the complex social structure
of India, with a particular focus on the caste
system.
 Dumont argued that the Indian caste system
was not simply a social stratification system
but represented a unique hierarchical order.
CASTE SYSTEM IN INDIA
 He says that caste is a special type of inequality.
 According to him, caste plays an integrative role in Indian society and is
distinctive of India and he sees caste system in terms of ‘ideas and values’
i.e. caste system is an ideology.
 According to Dumont, caste hierarchy is a peculiar feature of Indian
society and there cannot be any cross cultural comparisons of caste
system.
 He further says that hierarchy is of status and hence is independent of
power. According to him even kings were subordinate to priests.
Three elements are central to his analysis –
I. Division of labor on basis of pure and impure
II. Superiority of pure over impure
III. The separation of the two
These unique core principles of caste-hierarchy, according to
Dumont, are observed in scriptural formulation as well as the every-
day life of all Hindus.
CONCEPT OF PURE AND IMPURE :-
Pure vs. Impure
•Pure: Represents something considered clean, sacred, and often
associated with higher status or holiness in a society.
•Impure: Signifies something unclean, profane, or lower in status
within the societal hierarchy.
Dumont's Perspective
•Pure: Linked with ideals, high status, and adherence to cultural
norms or rituals.
•Impure: Associated with lower status, occupations, or activities that
fall outside the cultural norms.
IN HOMO HIERARCHICUS
 According to him, ‘caste is not a form of stratification, but a special
form of inequality and hierarchy is the central tenet of this system.
 According to him, in Indian context, opposition of equality is
hierarchy.
 Modern man's ideology is decidedly egalitarian and individualistic,
diametrically opposite to a hierarchical and collectivist one.
 According to him, principle of purity and pollution is universal
irrespective of region and class.
 He thus rejects Srinivas’ idea that caste hierarchy has both ritual and
secular streams. Ritual hierarchy always dominates secular status.
 He also analyzed caste in changing times and according to him, overall
framework has not changed. ‘There is change in society and not of
society’.
LOUIS DUMONT.pptx

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LOUIS DUMONT.pptx

  • 2. LOUIS DUMONT Thessaloniki 11 AUGUST 1911 LOUIS CHARLES JEAN DUMONT BIRTH BIRTH PLAC E FULL NAME EDUCATION Dumont began his academic career in the mid- 1930s under the guidance of Marcel Mauss, leading sociologist and Sanskritist. World War II interrupted his studies, but not entirely. He was taken as prisoner of war and was detained in a factory on the outskirts of Hamburgh. There, he studied German
  • 3. 1. Louis Dumont was a French anthropologist, sociologist, and Indologist who was an outstanding person in the field of sociology and anthropology. 2. He was determined and debated on India and the West. He studied different societies and did an inter-civilizational comparison. 3. Dumont also studied Sanskrit and spent one year in Tamil Nadu learning about Pramalai Kallar. He spent a few years in India roaming and gathering knowledge from different parts of India. He visited Tamil Nadu and Gorakhpur. 4. His main focus studies where on Hinduism, kinship, caste in ancient India and Sociopolitical movements of modern India. He also succeeded M.N Srinivas as a Lecturer at Oxford University in the field of Indian Sociology.
  • 4. WORKS OF LOUIS DUMONT : 1. La Tarasque (1951) 2. One sous-caste de Inde du sud: Organization sociale et religion des pramalai Kallar (1957) 3. Hierarchy and Marriage Alliance in South India (1957) 4. Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and Its Implications (1966, 1970) 5. Religion, Politics and History in India: Collected Papers in Indian Sociology (1970) 6. Homo aequalis (1977
  • 5. The chief elements of his methodology are: 1. Ideology and structure 2. Dialectic transformational relationship and comparison 3. Indological and structuralist approach 4. Cognitive historical approach
  • 6. Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and Its Implications  In 1966 he produced a work named The Caste System and its Implications.  His work is different from others in the sense that it uses a cardinal explanatory way to the hierarchy to which it gives a whole new model.  Dumont explored the complex social structure of India, with a particular focus on the caste system.  Dumont argued that the Indian caste system was not simply a social stratification system but represented a unique hierarchical order.
  • 7. CASTE SYSTEM IN INDIA  He says that caste is a special type of inequality.  According to him, caste plays an integrative role in Indian society and is distinctive of India and he sees caste system in terms of ‘ideas and values’ i.e. caste system is an ideology.  According to Dumont, caste hierarchy is a peculiar feature of Indian society and there cannot be any cross cultural comparisons of caste system.  He further says that hierarchy is of status and hence is independent of power. According to him even kings were subordinate to priests.
  • 8. Three elements are central to his analysis – I. Division of labor on basis of pure and impure II. Superiority of pure over impure III. The separation of the two These unique core principles of caste-hierarchy, according to Dumont, are observed in scriptural formulation as well as the every- day life of all Hindus.
  • 9. CONCEPT OF PURE AND IMPURE :- Pure vs. Impure •Pure: Represents something considered clean, sacred, and often associated with higher status or holiness in a society. •Impure: Signifies something unclean, profane, or lower in status within the societal hierarchy. Dumont's Perspective •Pure: Linked with ideals, high status, and adherence to cultural norms or rituals. •Impure: Associated with lower status, occupations, or activities that fall outside the cultural norms.
  • 10. IN HOMO HIERARCHICUS  According to him, ‘caste is not a form of stratification, but a special form of inequality and hierarchy is the central tenet of this system.  According to him, in Indian context, opposition of equality is hierarchy.  Modern man's ideology is decidedly egalitarian and individualistic, diametrically opposite to a hierarchical and collectivist one.  According to him, principle of purity and pollution is universal irrespective of region and class.  He thus rejects Srinivas’ idea that caste hierarchy has both ritual and secular streams. Ritual hierarchy always dominates secular status.  He also analyzed caste in changing times and according to him, overall framework has not changed. ‘There is change in society and not of society’.

Editor's Notes

  1. . His main areas of interest in sociology are Hinduism, caste, kinship in ancient India, and social-political movements in modern India.
  2. Dumont spent fifteen months in 1957-58 in a village of Gorakhpur district in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Although, the duration of fieldwork was not much shorter than that in Tamil Nadu, north India did not attract him as the south had.
  3. Sure, let's break down the chief elements of this methodology more succinctly with examples: 1. **Ideology and Structure:** This refers to analyzing how ideas and beliefs shape the structure of societies or systems. For example, studying how capitalism influences social hierarchies or how religious beliefs impact political structures. 2. **Dialectic Transformational Relationship and Comparison:** This involves examining how different entities or ideas interact, change, or oppose each other, leading to transformation. For instance, analyzing the contrasting ideologies of capitalism and socialism and how they've influenced global economic policies through history. 3. **Indological and Structuralist Approach:** This method involves studying cultures, societies, or texts from within their own context (Indological) and applying a structuralist lens that seeks patterns or underlying systems in these contexts. An example could be interpreting ancient texts like the Vedas in the context of their time and also using structuralist theories to identify recurring themes or linguistic structures. 4. **Cognitive Historical Approach:** This approach combines cognitive psychology and historical analysis to understand how mental processes and historical events intersect. For instance, examining how cultural beliefs about illness influenced the treatment of diseases in different historical periods. Each of these elements provides a unique perspective and toolkit for understanding complex phenomena in various fields like sociology, history, or philosophy.
  4. Cardinal explanatory way :
  5. binary opposition
  6. He identified a number of pure and impure practices which are attached with notions of purity and impurity. Endogamy, cleanliness, vegetarianism are considered pure and superior. Accordingly, those who are engaged in impure occupations are separated from the class of sacred/pure occupations. Pure and impure are attached to not only occupation, but to the entire structure of ideas. Untouchables are specialized in ‘impure’ tasks, which lead to the attribution of a massive and permanent impurity to some categories of people. Dumont highlights temporary and permanent impurity. In larger areas of the world, death, birth and other such seclusion of the affected persons, for instance, the newly delivered mother was actually excluded from the church for forty days at the end of which she would present herself carrying a lighted candle and would be met at the church porch by the priest.