The caste system, its salient characteristics, and its subtle and more obvious transformations, coupled with its persistence and pervasiveness, have been central to studies of Indian society. This review provides a specific view of caste and its transformations with an emphasis on the socioeconomic or labor market dimension. Such a perspective is particularly crucial as one of the distinctive features of caste is the inheritance of occupations. A major argument of modernization has been the increasing movement away from occupational inheritance. This review traces the limited support for the “Orientalist” view of caste as essentially unchanging and focuses on the fluid nature of caste and its transformation in the economic domain.


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