Desai, Sonalde. 2007. ABSTRACT
In sociological imagination caste has come to signify pure status, dissociated from stratification systems based on material wealth. It is often argued that the caste system is based on identifiable behavioral and ideological markers through which upper castes achieve their superior status and which lower castes try to emulate as a way of gaining status. While this argument has been criticized by recent literature, many of these debates have been devoid of data. Using data from an all India survey conducted in 2005, this paper seeks to fill this gap by examining distinctions between different caste groups on indicators of status and wealth. Results fail to find support for caste based hierarchy in markers of status however a hierarchy in indicators of material wealth seems apparent.