Tag Archives: Middle Classes


Today, the engineering profession, more than any other, seems to embody the transformations which affect contemporary India. It simultaneously symbolizes the rise of the hypothetical « middle classes » and the positioning of India as an emerging power in the international job market, since the country has become one of the preferred destinations of large technological firms. Each year, India awards 3,50,000 engineering degrees. Continue reading

Book : The Indian Middle Class – OUP 2016


Part of Oxford India Short Introductions

Surinder S. Jodhka & Aseem Prakash

Who exactly are the middle classes in India? What role do they play in contemporary Indian politics and society, and what are their historical and cultural moorings? The authors of this volume argue that the middle class has largely been understood as an ‘income/ economic category’, but the term has a broader social and conceptual history, globally as well as in India. It is this conceptual and social history of the Indian middle class that the book analytically elaborates.


Book : Tamil Brahmans. The making of a middle-class caste

9780226152745 A cruise along the streets of Chennai—or Silicon Valley—filled with professional young Indian men and women, reveals the new face of India. In the twenty-first century, Indians have acquired a new kind of global visibility, one of rapid economic advancement and, in the information technology industry, spectacular prowess. In this book, C. J. Fuller and Haripriya Narasimhan examine one particularly striking group who have taken part in this development: Tamil Brahmans—a formerly traditional, rural, high-caste elite who have transformed themselves into a new middle-class caste in India, the United States, and elsewhere.Fuller and Narasimhan offer one of the most comprehensive looks at Tamil Brahmans around the world to date. They examine Brahman migration from rural to urban areas, more recent transnational migration, and how the Brahman way of life has translated to both Indian cities and American suburbs. They look at modern education and the new employment opportunities afforded by engineering and IT. They examine how Sanskritic Hinduism and traditional music and dance have shaped Tamil Brahmans’ particular middle-class sensibilities and how middle-class status is related to the changing position of women. Above all, they explore the complex relationship between class and caste systems and the ways in which hierarchy has persisted in modernized India.


Books: India’s New Middle Classes

Leela Fernandes. India’s New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an era of economic reform, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006

“Leela Fernandes digs into the implications of the growth of the middle class in India and uncovers—in the media, in electoral politics, and on the streets of urban neighborhoods—the complex politics of caste, religion, and gender that shape this rising population. Using rich ethnographic data, she reveals how the middle class operates as a proponent of economic democratization. ”

Book reviews:

Mark Jackson, “Leela Fernandes, India’s New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an era of economic reform.”, Canadian Journal of Sociology Online, Sept-Oct 2007. Available here.

Murayama, Mayumi, “India’s New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an Era of Economic Reform – by Leela Fernandes”, The Developing Economies, Vol. 47, Issue 2, June 2009


Amita Baviskar, Raka Ray (eds). Elite and Everyman: The Cultural Politics of the Indian Middle Classes, New Delhi: Routledge India, 2011

“This book examines the middle classes — who they are and what they do — and their influence in shaping contemporary cultural politics in India. Describing the historical emergence of these classes, from the colonial period to contemporary times, it shows how the middle classes have changed, with older groups shifting out and new entrants taking place, thereby transforming the character and meanings of the category. The essays in this volume observe multiple sites of social action (workplaces and homes, schools and streets, cinema and sex surveys, temples and tourist hotels) to delineate the lives of the middle classes and show how middle-class definitions and desires articulate hegemonic notions of the normal and the normative.”


See Also:

Timothy Scrase. “The “New” Middle Class in India. A Re-assessment”, 16th Biennial Conference of the Asian Studies Association of Australia in Wollongong, 26 June – 29 June 2006. Available here.

Ruchira Ganguly-Scrase, Timothy Scrase. Globalisation and the Middle Classes in India. The Social and cultural impact of neoliberal reforms. London: Routledge, 2009

Christophe Jaffrelot, Peter van der Veer (eds). Patterns of Middle Class Consumption in India and China. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2008

Book: Engineers and Middle Classes in France

Paul Bouffartigue, Charles Gadéa, et Sophie Porchic, Cadres, classes moyennes : vers l’éclatement ? Paris, Armand Colin, 2011.
“« Banalisation  des cadres », « stress au travail », « panne de l’ascenseur social », « crise des classes moyennes » : les anxiétés sociales se focalisent sur ce vaste ensemble dans lequel une majorité de la population tend désormais à se reconnaître. Dans quelle mesure sont-elles fondées ? Reflet de tendances lourdes ou emballement  médiatique, voire rhétoriques politiques ? Une quarantaine de sociologues et de spécialistes en sciences de gestion apportent une réponse nuancée.  

Multipliant les angles d’observation, combinant de grandes enquêtes quantitatives et des enquêtes localisées, faisant place à l’étude de catégories de salariés proches des cadres, donnant une large place aux différences liées au genre et aux générations, l’ouvrage sonde l’évolution des frontières entre cadres et non cadres. Il analyse les carrières, le rapport au travail et les conditions de travail des cadres, mais aussi leur mode de vie, leurs pratiques culturelles et leurs comportements politiques. Cadres non dirigeants et professions intermédiaires, cœur des classes moyennes salariées, apparaissent à la fois éloignés sur de multiples plans et néanmoins réunis par nombre de passerelles.
Bilan des recherches empiriques et contribution au renouvellement du débat théorique sur la notion de classes moyennes, il plaide pour une analyse nuancée qui prend en compte les diverses facettes du devenir de ce monde social inscrit au cœur de la société française. “

Contributors: T. Amossé, S. Bosc, V. Boussard, C. Brousse, M. Cartier, J. Chiche, Ph. Coulangeon, O. Cousin, I. Coutant, L. Coutrot, Y. Dalla Pria, F. Dany, F. Darbus, C. Delmas, F. Devine, S. Ghaffari, A. Grelon, G. Groux, C. Guillaume, M. Guyonvarch, N. Lapeyre, J. Laufer, G. Lazuech, N. Le Feuvre, N. Leroux, O. Masclet, F. Mispelblom Beyer, P. Moulévrier, M. Oberti, F. Palpacuer, A. Pélage, C. Peugny, T. Poullaouec, E. Préteceille, J. Rhulmann, A. Seignour, Y. Siblot, L.-A. Vallet, C. Vercher, N. Vezinat, L. Wolff.

Book Review (in French) : http://www.liens-socio.org/Cadres-classes-moyennes-vers-l