Caste system sociology definition Colonial America and currently

Caste system

Human beings have always tried to adhere to their beliefs and customs, which define the culture of a certain population, often being religion that defines how people will be organized and treated within society. In this article we will let you know the definition of Caste system in sociology.

The caste system , created in the Middle Ages  has meant that there is a differentiation of the privileges of a person in society , as well as he has done there people who are treated unfairly and lower. For this reason the caste system is linked to the domination of some over others. We must understand caste as an invariable social status.

What is the caste system?

The caste system is defined as the social system where personal status is awarded for life, this means that societies that are organized by castes have very closed strata and each person must remain in the stratum for the rest of their life. where he was born . Among the characteristics that differentiated each social stratum were the following: religion, racial characterization, economic position, among others that they have acquired from birth and that they cannot change.

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Chaste societies can be seen as a society in which one is born with the social class already acquired. This type of society completely rejects any type of relationship with members of other castes. The purity of blood in caste societies is maintained because inbreeding is practiced, that is, that marriage must occur between people of the same caste, for example if we speak of medieval society it was not well seen and it was punished that a nobleman marry a woman belonging to the serf stratum, much less a noble woman marry someone socially inferior.

Throughout history this generated, to say the least, conflicts. Conflicts to prevent natural issues, and wars in case it has been a repetitive or constant situation. An example of your own? In 1847 there was a war called the Caste War , in Mexican territory, exclusively for this issue.

Colonial caste system

In Colonial America, society is divided into different classes that respond to the caste system. We must imagine this society as a pyramid, where at the top are the European whites who call themselves pure, and at the bottom are the rest of the population with a greater or lesser degree of mixture.

The main characteristic of this system is its rigidity, that is, there is no vertical social mobility, the domination of whites is naturalized from birth, since they occupy the place of power in society. Even so, in reality it was very difficult to divide the entire society between different castes, since the level of interbreeding between the population was very high.

Social division in colonial America

  • Mestizo : it results from the union of an indigenous person with a European .
  • Mulatto: it results from the union of an African with a European .
  • Zambo: it results from the union of an African with an indigenous person .
  • Moorish: it results from the union of a mulatto with a European .
  • Cholo: it results from the union of a mestizo with an indigenous .
  • Castizo: it results from the union of a mestizo with a European .
  • Creole: the children of Spaniards born in America were called in this way . These occupied the highest place in the society along with the Europeans.

This social division was functional to the power of the Spanish Crown, it was presented as the natural order seeking to maintain domination over the majority of the population, with Native Americans and African blacks being the most affected. Then with the Independence of the American countries, this form of social organization was abandoned and a society divided into classes was abandoned, where before the law all citizens are equal and what differentiates them is their purchasing power.

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Breed location

Caste systems existed during colonial times in much of the European continent , they were present above all in countries where monarchies existed , since it was important for them to maintain royal blood. Similarly, those belonging to the higher social classes sought to maintain the purity of their blood and did not allow marriages with lower social classes.

In America , after the arrival of the Spanish and the conquest, a caste society was also implemented. The natives of America are taken as subjects of the Crown, in this way they enter the scheme of colonial society. As we said above, each person by their condition occupied a specific place in society, from birth to death. On top of this society are European whites, deep blacks as slaves working .

However, Europe and America were not the only continents where caste systems were implemented, in Hinduism these systems also existed in ancient times and even today castes are managed in this country of the Asian continent .

Caste systems currently

In Hinduism, castes had and still have a more spiritual air than physical appearance or material goods. This religion professes that human beings come from the different parts of the body of a god who bears the name Brahma. There are four basic castes that depend on the part of the Brahma’s body from which each human being was created . This type of social differentiation is clearly seen in India , on the Asian continent. Here the castes are naturalized through religion, a different case from the caste system based on racial aspects as in colonial America.

As in any caste, they define social status, with whom they can marry and what work they can do. It is the Laws of Manu that dictate the sacred order, in addition to the fact that no one can belong to another caste in the course of his lifeThe only way to advance or regress in the castes is through reincarnations .

  • Brahmins or priests.
  • Shantytown or military and political.
  • Yaishias or merchants and artisans.
  • Shudras or slaves, workers and peasants.

There were also some people who were born without caste, they were called untouchables or dalits . They were outside the system and for this reason they were despised and had to carry out the jobs that were of the least importance, so much so that they were even forbidden to drink from the same water sources as those belonging to the four castes.

At present , people belonging to the upper classes consider lower class people to be impure. And marriages between different castes are not illegal but they are not recognized. The untouchables system was abolished in 1950, but is still being put into practice due to class loyalty, this happens in all communities that carry Hinduism by religion, however in rural areas it is much more rooted.

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