Caste at the City’s Edge: Land Struggles in Peri-urban Bengaluru

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, Volume 26, p.01-28 (2021)


accumulation, agrarian transition, Bengaluru, caste, India, land markets, peri-urban


Building on recent literature that explores how the social logics of older agrarian formations are refracted in processes of urbanization, the paper foregrounds the significance of caste in rapidly changing peri-urban spaces. Drawing on extended fieldwork in several villages on the outskirts of Bengaluru, it shows how the twin scaffoldings of agrarian society—caste and land—are reconfigured as the values of land change in this zone of transition. Caste identity not only structures who can participate in, or prosper from, the transformation of agrarian land into urban real estate—it is also refashioned and deployed in new ways, especially through the politics of land. This study demonstrates why caste should be understood as a social structure of accumulation, whose specific modes of operation are defined by regionally rooted histories of development and memories of oppression and struggle.