Level of Self Differentiation: Caste Status vs. Mundane Experience

Author: 
Dhruvarajan, Vanaja
Year: 
1981

     The study was conducted to identify the relationship between caste status and level of self differentiation. This is part of a more general concern to establish whether structural differentiation can be meaningfully related to individual self differentiation." "The twin objectives of this thesis . . . [are] to find out whether there is any variation in the type of environment provided for the development of self differentiation between different strata in the stratification hierarchy, and whether the structural differentiation of society is directly related to self differentiation. The results of this study show that membership in the upper strata does provide better opportunities for development of self differentiation. . . . With regard to the second question, it was found that the village society is structurally less differentiated compared to an urban society. The range and distribution of ego levels are consequently concentrated in the lower end of the ego developmental scale."
     These "findings are based on the study of women in the village" Musali (Hassan District, Karnataka). After introductory chapters providing the theoretical and methodological premises of the study, the "macro-social characteristics of the village are discussed." This includes topics such as "the respondent's ecological setting . . . population composition, economic structure, religious and linguistic background, structure of village government and the rhythm of daily life in the village." Furthermore, "the effects of modernization on daily life in the village and on the structure of intercaste relationships are discussed in detail. The objective is to delineate the influence of these changes on the lives of the women in the village." In the next part of the thesis, "the status of women within the patriarchal, patrilineal, and patrilocal family system is discussed. This includes discussion of deference customs that structure the interpersonal relationships. A brief description of jokes that are popular in daily life and reflect the general tenor of intersex relationships are given. After having discussed the common characteristics shared by women in Brahmin and Vokkaliga castes, differentiating aspects of their daily life style are portrayed." Then "the conceptions regarding the nature of women and the philosophical underpinnings of these conceptions are discussed so as to show the way the ideals and images derived from these conceptions thereby determine the proper role of women. The remarkable stability of the ideals and images of women over time is briefly discussed as having been sustained through the parallel stability of women's subculture." The following chapter describes "the socialization of Brahmin and Vokkaliga women through the life cycle." The study then analyzes the collected data and interprets these findings. "In conclusion a brief summary of the study is provided and the need for further research to help verify the role to the causal variables that emerged as being important in this study is stated.

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