The importance of Louis Dumont's work—both for specialists in Indian studies and for general social science theory—is by now obvious. Yet, since the publication of the initial volumes of Contributions to Indian Sociology (old series, coedited with D. Pocock), Dumont's work has been subjected to intensive criticisms that do not simply suggest he is wrong about a particular ethnographic fact, but rather that his approach is wrongheaded, that his starting points are idealist, biased (in favor of upper castes), or irretrievably tied to “French intellectual currents.”

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