This paper examines recent developments in caste relations in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, in the context of economic and political change in India's most highly urbanised major state. Though Tamil Nadu has a reputation for being socially progressive, and has a history of rule by political parties that emerged from a movement that was forcefully secular and supposedly 'anti-caste', it also has a long history of the exclusion of Dalits. Recent events show considerable tension and contestation over caste privilege, with defensive reactions by dominant castes to the increasing assertiveness of Dalits.
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Harriss, John, Privilege in Dispute: Economic and Political Change and Caste Relations in Tamil Nadu Early in the 21st Century, Simons Papers in Security and Development, No. 44/2015, School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, September 2015.
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