Definitions of Caste
- (noun) A stratified system of categorization based on a status conferred at birth (ascribed status) based on descent, in which individuals do not have mobility due to custom or law.
- (noun) A group and the individual members of a group within a caste.
Examples of Caste
- Definition 1:
- Jāti in India
- Definition 2:
- American English – /kAst/
- British English – /kAHst/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /kæst/
- British English – /kɑːst/
- Plural: castes
- A form of social stratification that is reinforced by endogamy, occupation, and ritualized norms.
- In comparison to caste, class is another stratified system but one that permits individual mobility.
- Also called caste system.
- “But it is not enough that rules exist, for sometimes these very rules are the cause of evil. This is what happens in class-wars. The institution of classes or castes constitutes one organization of the division of labour, one that is strictly regulated. Yet it is often a source of dissension. When the lower classes are not, or no longer satisfied with the role allotted to them through custom or law, they aspire to functions forbidden to them, and try to dispossess those who exercise these functions. From this arise civil wars, which are due to the way in which work is distributed” (Durkheim  2004:37).
- “Caste and class systems of stratification are opposite, extreme points on a continuum. The two systems differ in the ease of social mobility, the relative importance of achieved and ascribed statuses, and the extent to which each restricts interaction among people considered unequal” (Ferrante 2011b:204).
- “Where ethnic groups are racially defined, relations among them tend toward caste. Endogamy within castes is strictly enforced, and interaction between them in intimate social settings such as peer groups, clubs, neighborhoods, and so on are minimized. Subordinate castes are usually exploited occupationally by the dominant group and experience little or no change in their collective social position” (Marger 1985:37).
- Word origin of “caste” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Dahrendorf, Ralf. 1988. The Modern Social Conflict: An Essay on the Politics of Liberty. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
- Giddens, Anthony. 1973. The Class Structure of the Advanced Societies. London: Hutchinson.
- Grusky, David B., ed. 2014. Social Stratification: Class, Race, and Gender in Sociological Perspective. 4th ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
- Kerbo, Harold Ray. 2012. Social Stratification and Inequality: Class Conflict in Historical, Comparative, and Global Perspective. 8th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Weber, Max. 1916. The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism.
- social mobility
- social stratification
- Weber, Max
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Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “caste.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved November 29, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/caste/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
caste. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/caste/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “caste.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed November 29, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/caste/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“caste.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 29 Nov. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/caste/>.