By Karin Kapadia
This book examines two subordinated groups- "untouchables" and women- in a village in Tamilnadu, South India. The lives and work of "untouchable" women in this village provide a unique analytical focus that clarifies the ways in which three axes of identity- gender, caste, and class- are constructed in South India. Karin Kapadia argues that subordinated groups do not internalize the values of their masters but instead reject them in innumerable subtle ways. Kapadia contends that elites who hold economic power do not dominate the symbolic means of production. Looking at the everyday practices, rituals, and cultural discourses of Tamil low castes, she shows how their cultural values repudiate the norms of Brahminical elites. She also demonstrates that caste and class processes cannot be fully addressed without considering their interrelationship with gender.