David Rudner's richly detailed ethnographic and historical analysis of a South Indian merchant-banking caste provides the first comprehensive analysis of the interdependence among Indian business practice, social organization, and religion. Exploring noncapitalist economic formations and the impact of colonial rule on indigenous commercial systems, Rudner argues that caste and commerce are inextricably linked through formal and informal institutions. The practices crucial to the formation and distribution of capital are also a part of this linkage. Rudner challenges the widely held assumptions that all castes are organized either by marriage alliance or status hierarchy and that caste structures are incompatible with the "rational" conduct of business.
This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1994.