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The Scavengers Exploited Class of City Professionals


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This is a first-hand study of a hitherto neglected but crucial section of the Mumbai city-dwellers. It fulfills a major need of essential readings for sociologists, and other social scientists.

More than being an empirical investigation, the study provides a theoretical frame-work within which the complexities of a country like India may be enquired into more adequately.

It employs participation-observation method and shows how the utility of other standard methods, for example, the questionnaire method can gain added significance. It develops a new concept-HEDOSS-which may be used for better grasping of complex situation faced by the most underprivileged people of a less-developed country. It proposes new definitions of the particular section of city-dwellers it studies. It attempts to develop a measure of change at any specific time.

The Scavengers is, then, both an informative and micro-level study of an important but neglected section of the society that is undergoing transformation in the metropolitan city of Mumbai. It makes a distinct contribution to macro-level sociological theory and method.

The study, carried out under the supervision of late Professor S.S Jha of the University Department of Sociology, was originally submitted as author’s doctoral dissertation to the University of Mumbai.


1.Defining the Bias – The Genesis of the Study
2.Defining the Context: That Which was Known
3. Developing a Method: Participation-Observation as the Key
4. The Point: The Safai Kamgars in Bombay
5. The Counterpoint: The Professionals of City
6. The Process: Conformity AND Change Bibliography


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Dr. P.S. Vivek


Himalaya pub