Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
The Untouchables

The Untouchables
Subordination, Poverty and the State in Modern India


Part of Contemporary South Asia

  • Date Published: April 1998
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521556712

£ 28.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • In a sensitive and compelling account of the lives of those at the very bottom of Indian society, Oliver Mendelsohn and Marika Vicziany explore the construction of the Untouchables as a social and political category, the historical background which led to such a definition, and their position in India today. The authors argue that, despite efforts to ameliorate their condition on the part of the state, a considerable edifice of discrimination persists on the basis of a tradition of ritual subordination. Even now, therefore, it still makes sense to categorise these people as 'Untouchables'. The book promises to make a major contribution to the social and economic debates on poverty, while its wide-ranging perspectives will ensure an interdisciplinary readership from historians of South Asia, to students of politics, economics, religion and sociology.

    • The only comprehensive account of the phenomenon of Untouchability
    • Accessible and interdisciplinary in approach
    • Authors well-known in the field
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'The authors really come into their own when they take a long, hard look at public policy, and when they take up case studies which reveal indepth fieldwork. [They] offer a penetrating insight into reservation policies. The effort that has gone into the case studies is evident … It is of great value because it provides an understanding of the phenomenon of 'new poverty'. More importantly, it throws light on the fight over bonded labour and working conditions, expressed in political, legal and industrial forms.' The Telegraph (India)

    'Clearly written and lucidly argued, this book is an important study of a very sensitive subject.' Journal of Asian Studies

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: April 1998
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521556712
    • length: 308 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • contains: 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Who are the Untouchables?
    2. The question of the 'Harijan atrocity'
    3. Religion, politics and the Untouchables from the nineteenth century to 1956
    4. Public policy I: adverse discrimination and compensatory discrimination
    5. Public policy II: the anti-poverty programs
    6. The new Untouchable proletariat: a case study of the Faridabad stone quarries
    7. Untouchable politics and Untouchable politicians since 1956
    8. The question of reservation: lives and careers of some scheduled castes MPs and MLAs
    9. Subordination, poverty and the state in modern India

  • Authors

    Oliver Mendelsohn, La Trobe University, Victoria

    Marika Vicziany, Monash University, Victoria

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.