Status and Sacredness

Status and Sacredness

Status and Sacredness: A General Theory of Status Relations and an Analysis of Indian Culture, New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.
By Murray Milner, Jr.

Distinguished Publications Award 1996
American Sociological Association

"Milner's analysis of Indian sociey has the comprehensiveness and depth of a masterwork. The book bears favorable comparison with Louis Dumont's Homo Hierarchicus, the modern classic on this topic. It is likewise an important work of general theory, examining India as a crucial case where the principles of the status order may be seen in their most extreme form, and laying bare the nature of struggle over the appropriation of status resources."
-Randall Collins, University of California, Riverside

"This elegant and imaginative construction of a general theory of status via a detailed study of the caste system displays sustained argumentation of a high order. It wouldn't be extravagant to compare it with Durkheim's theory of the religious life. The difference is that Milner takes the most complex, instead of the most elementary, case."
-David Lockwood, University of Essex

"A distinguished and superior piece of sociological analysis which is bound to elicit enthusiastic responses by readers in sociology but also in other social science domains as well as in schools of theology."
-Lewis A. Coser, Boston College

"One of the very best books by a sociologist published in recent years. Profound and significant, both for scholars and educated lay people. A must read for all interested in the subject and its numerous implications."
-Amitai Etzioni, George Washington University, author of The Spirit of Community

Analyzing a crucial case to convey a new theory is an honored tradition in social analysis. Marx analyzed England to explain the dynamics of capitalism, and Durkheim studied Australian aborigines to develop a theoryof religion. In Status and Sacredness, Milner analyzes the Indian caste system and Hinduism to develop a general theory of status relationships. Moreover, he argues that scaredness and legitimacy are special forms of status and, hence, his theory also organizes much of what we know about political legitimization and religion - as well as throwing new light on these subjects. The analysis is built upon a new theoretical framework, "resource structuralism," that clarifies the nature of power, the types of elites and nonelites, the significance of symbolic capital, and more generally the nature of social resources. This book will be essential reading for those interested in South Asian studies, social stratifivation, religion, and general social theory.

A General Theory of Status Relations and an Analysis of Indian Culture
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