Caste, Stigma, and Well-being

Project Details


There is a surprising absence of research examining cultural and psychological
dimensions of caste identity in India. The stigma of being an untouchable (Dalit)
remains unexplored in the social sciences. Led by a clinician anthropologist, the
proposed innovative pilot study explores three linked questions: 1) What is the
nature of stigma associated with being an untouchable? 2) How does this change
following religious conversion? 3) How does stigma of being an untouchable differ
from stigma of severe mental illness?

Ethnographic observation, focus groups, and a quantitative questionnaire will be
deployed to study a select sample of Dalits & Dalit Buddhists in Maharashtra
State, India. Analysis will aim at unpacking the relationship between
untouchability, stigma, and cultural psychological identity.

This study will provide a vital theoretical contribution to the psychological
anthropology of conversion, with potential for psychosocial intervention on caste
related stigma. The research will kickstart an interdisciplinary programme linking
psychiatry with anthropology in India.
Effective start/end date1/08/1230/06/13


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