Oct 7, 2019 in Sociology

Caste System in Society

Caste systems have been part of the leading characteristics of social organizations for the past years. A caste system is defined as a social configuration that is genetic by nature and dwells in some cultural setting. It can lead to cases of the assured categorization of people by unexpected birth instead of their deeds or temperament, whereby they are marginalized or coerced. Caste is not merely a variable, which affects social stipulations. In cases where caste systems are applied, they are contemplated as objections to a secular perspective and religious views. Social stratification is decided based on the means through which society gains wealth, dispensation, and prestige. In a closed society, status, control and class are ascribed, implying that they are recognized firmly as a result of family inheritance. A person is born on a particular social level, also called a caste, and has no chance to get in or out of that stratum. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze more studies to find out how caste manipulations relate to different variables to have a superior understanding of the effects of the system. This paper aims to outline what a caste system is and how it causes problems to some people in society, and finally study the Indian caste system in particular. 

Description of a Caste System in Society

Societies can be stratified in various ways. The Western culture, specifically the United States of America, is well-known for having a class system, where a single status is mainly based on a person’s economic situation and the fact that the one can enjoy socioeconomic mobility. Ascendant mobility via higher learning can lead to good employment, whereas downward mobility can cause someone to lose a job. Moreover, theories on slavery assert an intense domineering type of legitimated social disparity where a solitary cluster of people is believed to be dominated by other cluster. Besides, this statement helps to understand caste systems that still exist. 

Communities Where Caste Systems are Used

 Caste systems have been instituted across the world in various cultural settings that involve mainly Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and other cultures. UNICEF approximates that classification and at times discrimination by caste affects about two hundred and fifty million individuals globally.

In South and Central America, as well as imperial Spain, castes are referred to as means of stratifying individuals by ethnicity, race and social status and have been commonly in use from the sixteenth century. The word ‘caste’ was brought to the Indian culture by the Portuguese in the seventeenth century. In addition, it was used by the Dutch in the nineteenth century during their ethnographic studies of some parts of Southern- East Asia. Numerous aspects were employed to determine a caste because of the existence of several diverse colonial periods amongst Europeans, natives and slaves or conventional workers.

Other research points out that the term ‘caste’ must not be confused with a social division or race. Individuals of diverse castes in a single society may be connected to the same group or race as it is in Japan, Europe or Korea and India.

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Caste System in India as an Example

The society of India is distinguished by caste classification, agrarian structure, diversity of religions, rural urban migration, as well as the refusal to modify traditions. The Indian caste system is one of the most-recognized ones that still exist. This prehistoric caste system was introduced more than three thousand years ago. It arose from the Hindu religion. The caste system has the responsibility to identify a social status and put boundaries on what fanatics can perform inside the religion and secular occupations that people can engage in. By description, the caste system connotes stiff competition and provides a curfew of social mobility that defines the religious dispensation and socioeconomic position of associates who belong to that caste. Even though India is a nation with diversified unity, modernization is apparent and societal renovation has resulted in troubles and conflicts that are characteristics of the current Indian society.

The uppermost Hinduism caste comprises the Brahmins. Brahmin associates are theorists and priests financed by the state. They are viewed as spiritual and emotional superiors over other castes. The Brahmin caste consists of the soldier caste or the Kshatriyas whose responsibility is to guard the state. This caste system corresponds to the top middle class. The position of Brahmin is not attained by individuals that fit in the orders given to them. The latter tour through countless orders of living; people experience replicated births one at a time and in other births are born as Brahmans. Kshatriya caste associates have an occupation of government representatives and professionals. The Vaisyas caste follows the Kshatriyas and represents a trader caste, including farmers and merchants. The Sudra caste is under the Vaisyas and is also referred to as the farmer one. Associates of the Sudra caste are servants and workers to higher caste members. On the top of the four main castes, there are several subordinate categories also. Although India no longer authorizes the caste system, it is still observed in several regions.

Upper caste associates acquired big pieces of land and control since lower caste members were mere servants and amongst unfortunate individuals in society. For instance, Dalits were restricted to access communal schools and wells, were limited to enter certain shops possessed by higher caste associates, and could not engage in rural community festivals as well. Dalits were seen as impure and of low status. Regardless of bureaucrat strategies of non-discrimination, nationwide statistics demonstrates many offenses against Dalits nowadays. Nevertheless, the number of bureaucrat numbers is considered to be small since many cases remain unreported. Conversely, Dalits are issued with reservations in places of work, and they are qualified for many occupations that do not require a non-scheduled caste associate. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Caste Systems

Caste systems are genetic stratification schemes where one position is ascribed by the status of the family where an individual is born. These are low in social mobility, and the family where an individual is born decides on person’s social status and the career that the one can embrace. The pecking order of caste systems is stiff and habitually strengthened using cultural customs and prescribed law, which decrease relations among people of dissimilar castes. Caste systems are supported through the custom of the restrictive choice of an individual’s companion in favor of members of the same tribe, social class, community or ethnic group called endogamy. Caste systems are normally based on thoughts of religion.

There are many familiar caste systems in history. The apartheid system in South Africa was merely eliminated at the end of the twentieth century. In this system, harsh limitations were put on the capability of blacks to tour places they could stay, occupations where they could work and individuals they could mingle with. The segregation of whites and blacks was firmly implemented by the use of a pass where the latter were required to report themselves to the white regional authorities. Blacks were not given opportunities to vote, and intermarriage was highly proscribed. 

Caste systems are barriers to the progressiveness of society. Nevertheless, their importance and influence on people’s lives is decreasing, specifically in suburban and urban areas, and between professionals and the learned. Since society is influenced by the Western culture, the caste system stops to apply an enormous impact on people. Moreover, the connection between the job and the caste is diminishing. Jobs are no longer connected with specific castes. Resulting job mobility has lowered the significance of the caste system in contemporary society.

The caste system originates from societal tenets. Critics of the twenty-first century have disapproved Hinduism as one of the roots of the system, and as such, India was researched in order to assess the key features of the caste system. Additionally, many people suppose that Hinduism has influenced the caste system nature and has to be regarded as a legal religion, and that individuals of sound mind should work for it to become extinct. Studies indicate that brutality, injustice and tyranny that are associated with the Indian caste system are legalized to a certain extent by Hinduism with its specialists, even though some studies argue that the caste system is not in any way connected to the Hindu faith. 


It is evident from the research above that the caste system is incredibly complicated. Philosophy turned to be more extensive than what just emerges on the outside. Nevertheless, people should not be deceived in the middle of suggestions. When handling with the existing social realism, arguments have penetrated into the awareness of many persons and developed into an element of how they view the world and the caste system particularly. One people consider it as the one hindering the human progress, while others advocate it since it does not allow blending persons from different strata and determines roles every person should perform.

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