New reports on caste in Britain led by University of Wolverhampton philosopher

Dr Meena Dhanda‌Dr Meena Dhanda, Reader in Philosophy and Cultural Politics, headed up a team of academics to conduct the study on behalf of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The research was part of the commission’s Caste in Britain project, undertaken at the request of Government to help inform the introduction of a new statutory law.

This followed the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 requirement that government introduce a statutory prohibition of caste discrimination into British equality law.

The research involved collaboration between legal scholars and social scientists, and engagement with stakeholders and saw the publication of two reports.

(1) Research report 91(Caste in Britain: Socio-legal Review) highlights that:

  • Caste is distinct from class, race or religion and is pervasive across different cultural traditions. Its inclusion in the Equality Act 2010 should reflect these features of caste in Britain.

(2) Research report 92 (Caste in Britain: Experts' Seminar and Stakeholders' Workshop) documents findings from two events.

  • It notes the emergence of a shared understanding that the point of legislation is not to criminalise or remove caste but to challenge discrimination associated with it.

Dr Dhanda said: 'It has been a privilege to lead an excellent team of legal scholars and social science experts on caste. We have worked very hard on a tight schedule to produce comprehensive reports. I hope the Government Equalities Office will not lose time in drawing up the secondary legislation for consultation by the public.

“It is imperative that protection against caste discrimination and harassment is put in place as soon as practically possible. Our reports clearly indicate elements for a definition of caste within British law and also transparently present points of agreement and disagreement amongst experts and stakeholders.

“It should not be difficult for the GEO to take the necessary next step of commencing the process of public consultation. My team and I will eagerly wait for it.”

The research team was made up of Dr Dhanda, Dr Annapurna Waughray and Professor Stephen Whittle, both of Manchester Metropolitan University; Professor David Moose of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; Dr Roger Green of Goldsmiths, University of London, Dr David Keane of Middlesex University and Dr Stephen Iafrati of the University of Wolverhampton.

For a full copy of the reports visit: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/publications/our-research/research-reports/research-reports-91-100/

ENDS

For more information please contact James Allen in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322003.

Date Issued: Monday 10 March 2014

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