Exploring Narratives of Victimization, Resistance, and Resilience Among Dalits Using Thematic Analysis

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Aritra Mukherjee
Garima Agarwal
Charvi Tandon
Aakanksha Meena


Despite an increase in representation in politics and other fields, Dalits face structural violence in Indian society. There is limited psychological research on how Dalits make sense of their victimization and cope with and resist casteism. This study investigates the experiences of Dalit individuals in India, focusing on their experiences of caste-based victimization, resilience, and resistance in urban spaces. The study uses a qualitative approach to study the narratives of these individuals, highlighting the juxtaposition of victimhood narratives against resilience narratives. The data of 13 Dalit participants, collected using a semi-structured interview schedule, was analyzed using Braun and Clarke’s (2006; 2019) reflexive thematic analysis method. Two main themes were identified that indicated the ‘ways of victimization’ and ‘ways of resistance and resilience’ in the experience of Dalit participants. Sub-themes identified under the theme ‘ways of Dalit victimization’ are microaggression, deficit intergroup contact, upper caste disgust and shame among Dalits, and stereotyped assumptions. On the other hand, sub-themes under ‘ways of Dalit resistance and resilience’ include education, reclaiming classroom space, affirmative action, confronting individuals, having aspirations and generating solidarity, dismissing merit, and an appreciation of ancestry. The analysis also highlighted notions of Brahminical colonization and establishing ingroup indigenization. The findings shed light on the varied forms of collective resistance/resilience, especially focusing on the underpinning psychological processes.

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Mukherjee, A., Agarwal, G., Tandon, C., & Meena, A. (2024). Exploring Narratives of Victimization, Resistance, and Resilience Among Dalits Using Thematic Analysis. CASTE A Global Journal on Social Exclusion, 5(2), 160–185. https://doi.org/10.26812/caste.v5i2.911
Research Articles
Author Biography

Charvi Tandon, PhD Research Scholar, Department of Liberal Arts, Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad

PhD Research Scholar