Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

From landlords to software engineers: migration and urbanization among Tamil Brahmans

By C. J. Fuller and Haripriya Narasimhan


In south India's rapidly expanding information technology (IT) industry, the small, traditional elite of Tamil Brahmans is disproportionately well represented. Actually, no figures to confirm this assertion exist, but all the circumstantial evidence suggests that it is true, especially among the IT professionals and software engineers employed by the leading software and services companies in Chennai (Madras).Since the nineteenth century, Tamil Brahmans have successfully entered several new fields of modern professional employment, particularly administration, law, and teaching, but also engineering, banking, and accountancy. Hence the movement into IT, despite some novel features, has clear precedents. All these professional fields require academic qualifications, mostly at a higher level, and the Brahmans' success is seemingly explained by their standards of modern education, which reflect their caste traditions of learning

Topics: HT Communities. Classes. Races, GN Anthropology, QA76 Computer software
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1017/S0010417508000091
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online

Suggested articles


  1. (1969). [1955]. The Social Structure of a Tanjore Village.
  2. (1977). A Caste in a Changing World: The Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmans, doi
  3. (1996). A Century of Change: Caste and Irrigated Lands in Tamilnadu 1860s–1970s. doi
  4. (2005). A Struggle for Space. doi
  5. (1983). Agrarian Relations: South India. doi
  6. (1978). Agriculture and Social Structure in Tamil Nadu: Past Origins, Present Transformations and Future Prospects. doi
  7. (1999). An Agrarian History of South Asia. Cambridge: doi
  8. (1984). An Indian Rural Economy, 1880–1955: The Tamilnad Countryside. Delhi: doi
  9. (1970). ATamil Village: Socioeconomic Structure
  10. (1956). Brahman Kinship in a Tamil Village. doi
  11. (2007). Brahmin and Non-Brahmin: Genealogies of the Tamil Political Present. Delhi: Permanent Black.
  12. (1994). Caste and Capitalism in Colonial India: The Nattukottai Chettiars. Berkeley: doi
  13. (1960). Caste in a Tanjore Village. doi
  14. (1965). Caste, Class, and Power: Changing Patterns of Stratification in a Tanjore Village. Berkeley: doi
  15. (2001). Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India. doi
  16. (2001). Childrenof Colonialism: Anglo-Indians in aPostcolonial World.Oxford:
  17. (2003). Circular Migration and Rural Cosmopolitanism in India. Contributions to Indian Sociology (n.s.) doi
  18. (1987). Class and Culture in Urban India: Fundamentalism in a Christian Community. doi
  19. (1985). Class and Gender in India: Women and their Organizations in a South Indian City. doi
  20. (1995). Colonial Requirements and Engineering Education: The Public Works
  21. (1972). Continuity and Change in an Ex-Untouchable Community of South India.
  22. (1994). Dialogue and History: Constructing South India, doi
  23. (2008). Empowerment and Constraint: Women, Work and the Family in the Software Industry
  24. (2005). Fierce Gods: Inequality, Ritual, and the Politics of Dignity in a South Indian Village. doi
  25. (2006). Fragments of a Life: A Family Archive.
  26. (1988). Indian Society and the Making of the British Empire. Cambridge: doi
  27. (2007). Information Technology Professionals and theNew-Rich MiddleClass in Chennai (Madras). doi
  28. (1978). Laissez-Faire and Traditional Rulership in Princely India.
  29. (1960). Madras et le nord du Coromandel: e ´tude des conditions de la vie indienne dans un cadre ge ´ographique. Paris: Librairie d’Ame ´rique et d’Orient, doi
  30. (1974). Minorities in Madras State: Group Interests in Modern Politics. doi
  31. (2003). Nehru’s Dream and the Village “Waiting Room”: LongDistance Labour Migrants to a Central Indian Steel Town. Contributions to Indian Sociology (n.s.) doi
  32. (1976). Neighbourhood and Social Networks in Urban India. doi
  33. (1985). Peasant History in South India. doi
  34. (1975). Political Change in a Stable Society: Tanjore District 1880 to 1920.
  35. (1969). Politics and Social Conflict in South India: The Non-Brahman MovementandTamilSeparatism,1916–1929.Berkeley:UniversityofCaliforniaPress. doi
  36. (2003). Precolonial Intellectuals and the Production of Colonial Knowledge. doi
  37. (1989). Rural Change in Southeast India, 1950s to 1980s. Delhi: doi
  38. (1981). Rural Society in Southeast India. Cambridge: doi
  39. (2000). Science, Technology and Medicine in Colonial India. Cambridge: doi
  40. (1940). Some South Indian Villages: A Resurvey. doi
  41. (1918). Some South Indian Villages. London:
  42. (1978). Statut, fonctions et droits: relations agraires au Tamilnad. L’Homme 18(1–2): doi
  43. (1989). Tamil Nadu Backward Classes.
  44. (1986). Tamil Revivalism in the 1930s. doi
  45. (1999). The Brahmins and Brahminical Values in Modern Tamil Nadu.
  46. (2000). The Codes of Migration. doi
  47. (2004). The Jewish Century. doi
  48. (1976). The Politics of Cultural Nationalism in South India. doi
  49. (1996). The Rise of the Network Society. doi
  50. (1996). Transnational Connections: Culture, doi
  51. (2005). Virtual India: Indian IT Labor and the Nation-State.
  52. (1972). When a Great Tradition Modernizes. doi
  53. (1963). When Caste Barriers Fall: A Study of Social and Economic Change in a South Indian Village. Oslo: Universitets Forlaget. doi
  54. (2004). Who Is a Brahmin? The Politics of Identity in India.
  55. (2005). Wings Come to those Who Fly.
  56. (2006). Work, Culture, and Sociality in the Indian IT Industry: A Sociological Study. Final report to Indo-Dutch Programme for Alternatives to Development. Online at

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.