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Practicing CasteOn Touching and Not Touching$
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Aniket Jaaware

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823282265

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823282265.001.0001

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(Un)touchability of Things and People

(Un)touchability of Things and People

Chapter:
(p.148) 6 (Un)touchability of Things and People
Source:
Practicing Caste
Author(s):

Aniket Jaaware

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823282265.003.0007

This chapter addresses the use of the practices of touchability/untouchability as markers of caste practices. People who touch things that one does not touch become untouchable. Their unrelation, their denial to relate to certain things is transposed onto people who do touch these things; perhaps superimposed is a better verb to describe the phenomenon. This is quite clearly, again, an operation of metonymy, with a sort of inmixing of the two basic kinds: invariable concomitance and cause-effect. Those who do not touch animal fat, skin, human waste, and so on will not touch people who do precisely that, because of their frequent contact with these things. Thus, regulations on touching things were transposed onto people. There are actually two processes: the thingification of humans and the humanization of things. These two processes enhance and extend and confuse regulations on touching and being touched by people and things.

Keywords:   touchability, untouchability, caste practices, metonymy, invariable concomitance, cause-effect, touching

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