SOAS University of London

SOAS Professor contributes to EHRC’s latest reports on caste in the UK

13 March 2014

Professor David Mosse, Head of Anthropology Department at SOAS, University of London has co-led research on caste in the UK, which has been published in the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) latest reports.

The research, headed by Dr Meena Dhanda from University of Wolverhampton, was part of the EHRC’s ‘Caste in Britain’ project, undertaken at the request of Government to help inform the introduction of legislation on caste discrimination. This followed a requirement in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 that UK Government amend the Equality Act 2010 by introducing a statutory prohibition of caste discrimination.

The research, which involved collaboration between legal scholars and social scientists and engagement with stakeholders, had two parts:  

  • Socio-legal research on British equality law and caste in the context of the requirement in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 to make caste ‘an aspect of’ the protected characteristic of race in the Equality Act 2010. EHRC Research report 91(Caste in Britain: Socio-legal Review) examines: the meaning of caste and its manifestations in Britain; caste and protected characteristics, such as race or religion or belief; caste and legal exceptions; and caste in the international context. The report concludes by considering the legal formulation of caste as an aspect of race and how caste should be defined for legislative purposes.

  • The organisation of two events held respectively with legal/social science experts, and stakeholders to explore the nature of caste in the UK, discrimination on the grounds of caste, the definition of caste for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010, legislative exceptions and exclusions; the implementation of the law, and the impact of legislation on caste. EHRC Research report 92 (Caste in Britain: Experts' Seminar and Stakeholders' Workshop) documents these events and their conclusion in detail.

In addition to Dr Dhanda and Professor Mosse, the research team comprised Dr Annapurna Waughray (co-lead) and Professor Stephen Whittle, both from Manchester Metropolitan University; Dr Roger Green, Goldsmiths, University of London; Dr David Keane, Middlesex University and Dr Stephen Iafrati, University of Wolverhampton.

The EHRC’s statutory remit is to promote and monitor human rights; and to protect, enforce and promote equality across age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, sexual orientation and gender reassignment.

The reports are available on the EHRC’s website.