Caste-Tribe Settlements, Introduction Sociology YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Caste-Tribe Settlements

“The transformation of a tribal group into a group in the greater Hindu society with a distinct position in the caste hierarchy may come about without any occupational specialization within the group or by the group as a whole. It will also be shown that admission into the caste hierarchy has been achieved entirely through the process of Sanskritization.” - D. N. Majumdar


  • Own culture and traditions of tribes
  • With time, economy and the needs of society grew
  • New and skilled people were required for new product demands
  • Smaller castes emerged within varnas
  • New castes appeared amongst the Brahmins
  • Various tribes were taken into caste-based society and given the status of Jatis

Features of Tribal Settlements

  • Agricultural dependency
  • Closely related to nature
  • Low income due to primitive methods
  • Low standard of living
  • Simple lifestyle
  • Sparsely populated
  • Primary and close relationship among each other

Types of Settlement

  • Compact settlement:
    • Resources available in plenty
    • Mode of transport
    • Dense
  • Miscellaneous settlement
    • Isolated or deserted
    • Scarce resources
    • Scattered houses
  • Rural settlement
    • Defined regional boundary
    • Similar to village
  • Caste-tribe continuum settlement
    • Surajit Sinha
    • Tribes converting into caste by contact
    • Changing lifestyle


  • The concept of ‘continuum’ was initially coined by Robert Redfield in his work The Folk Culture of Yucatan
  • ‘Folk-urban’ continuum model
  • One pole to another
  • Tribe to caste
  • Equality to inequality
  • “We view caste and tribe as the opposite ends of a single line.” F. G. Bailey

Caste Tribe Continuum

  • Transition from the tribe to caste
  • Long process
  • Multiple changes
  • Due to formation of various social institutions and remaking them
    • Private property
    • The caste system
    • The state
    • Patriarchal society
  • Role of ethnocentrism (here, Hinduism)
  • Yearned to become Hindus in the past
  • Old society dissolves
  • New society emerges
  • New division of labour
  • New hierarchy
  • A new type of class formation
  • Instead of the break-up of tribes – there is transformation of tribes into castes.

Cultural Approximation

  • Village Botia in UP
  • To study problem of tribe-caste mobility
  • Cultural approximation both as a process and as an end product at a given time
  • Form of adaptation
  • Interactive and mutually beneficial cultural co-existence


  • Srinivas and Redfield
  • Acculturation best to understand the tribe-caste mobility in India
  • Primary concern - social mobility of the group and not individual
  • During the process of restructuring themselves they accept trends of dominant group
  • Another feature of this argument is that the tribes are interacting with a caste category and not with individuals in a society.
  • As the importance is attached to rank, hierarchy, ritual, pollution, and purity, they dominate all other considerations of modalities of interaction.
  • People are adapted to the dominant trends visible in the society in which they participate
  • This phenomenon is described as neo-caste system in which a traditional model which was based on a series of dyadic relationships
  • Social exchange in the tribe caste continuum with the presence of the process of Hinduization and Sanskritization.


Q. 1. When tribes are integrated with the traditional civilization of India, it is called

i. Enculturation

ii. Acculturation

iii. Tribe caste continuum

iv. Rurbanisation

Answer: iii

Q. 2. Who is of the view, “In India, however, most of the groups, which are how regarded as tribal have been in contact with Hindu society for many centuries past. Directly or indirectly, they have imbibed influences from Hinduism.”

i. Sachidananda

ii. Srivastava

iii. Sinha

iv. Srinivas

Answer: i

#Rural Sociology

#Rural and Peasant Society

#Caste-Tribe Settlements (New 2019)



0: 00 Caste-Tribe Settlements

1: 10 Introduction of Caste-Tribe Settlements

2: 15 Features of Tribal Settlements

2: 57 Types of Settlement

4: 18 Continuum

5: 03 Caste Tribe Continuum

6: 37 Cultural Approximation

7: 15 Hinduization

9: 22 MCQ About Caste-Tribe Settlements

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