Politics of Recognition and Its Intersection with Social Stigma - a Study of Construction of De-Notified Tribes in Post Colonial India

Thursday, 14 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 17 (Juridicum)
Distributed Paper
Politics of Recognition and its intersection with Social Stigma – A study of construction of De-notified Tribes in Post Colonial India.


What happens when recognition intersects with stigma? This question remains valid with respect to De-notified Tribes in India. De-notified Tribes in India emerged as an identity for the recognition of the communities which were once known as Criminal Tribes. The project of labelling 198 communities as criminals was managed by Colonial Rule by introducing Criminal Tribes Act (CTA), 1871, which implied that these communities were criminals by birth and practiced crime as a profession. In postcolonial India, in 1952, the repeal of CTA took place, which officially decriminalized the so called criminal communities and provided them a new recognition as “De-notified Tribes”.

The concepts of stigma and recognition remain applicable to the case of De-notified Tribes where one can discover that the process of stigmatization of these communities as criminals was initiated during the Colonial Rule through CTA, 1871, whereas their recognition as equal citizens of the country took place in Post Colonial India since 1952 through De-notification. However, presence of DNTs in the society still stigmatizes their identity as criminals in contemporary India; such situation provides a scope to interrogate whether the state follows a process of recognition in response to the practice of stigmatization. 

In view of the described scenario, this paper intends to examine the process of recognition in response to the process of stigmatization with respect to construction of De-notified Tribe identity in Post Colonial India. The paper would also try to comprehend the impact on identity formation when both the phenomena (Recognition & Stigmatization) exist simultaneously, as this remains the case with DNTs.  The research shall also attempt to analyse whether recognition in Post Colonial India has contributed to deconstruction of social stigma on De-notified Tribes.