Social Psychological Explorations of Caste: Unravelling Challenges and Discovering Opportunities

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Iram Fatima
Maria Zafar
M. Rejoyson Thangal


Despite our expectations that technological advancements, globalization, and the ensuing modernity and equality would strip away the relevance of caste hierarchies, caste remains a significant aspect that drives Indians’ social experiences. Casteist attitudes and behaviours persist despite the implementation of affirmative action policies, and social norms discouraging casteism. Psychology must understand the persistence of caste in a globalized and technology-mediated world like ours today. However, the invocation of psychology to explicate caste issues is not straightforward. While psychology has much to offer for the study of caste and casteism, it is vital to remember that psychology has been, at times, complicit in maintaining inequality and oppression in society. Significant methodological challenges exist in the discipline, and a psychology researcher must confront them while addressing caste. In this article, we discuss some of these challenges. We argue that researchers need to be aware of the crises prevalent in psychology and look for ways to turn them into opportunities to improve psychological research on caste. We also encourage researchers studying caste to ensure the compatibility of psychological theories and methods to the Indian context. We recommend that researchers make a moral commitment to address the agency of the oppressed caste groups in challenging the status quo. We also shed light on some specific malpractices within the methodological domain that researchers studying caste may fall into and suggest ways to prevent them. We believe these challenges provide opportunities to expand the horizons of psychology and social scientific research on caste.

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Fatima, I., Zafar, M., & Thangal, M. R. (2024). Social Psychological Explorations of Caste: Unravelling Challenges and Discovering Opportunities. CASTE A Global Journal on Social Exclusion, 5(2), 186–201.
Research Articles
Author Biography

M. Rejoyson Thangal, Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Psychology, Pondicherry University, India

PhD Scholar at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India.

Assistant Professor at Department of Applied Psychology, Pondicherry University, India