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AshyPrincess
01-17-2013, 07:51 AM
I'm sorry,I keep bothering you guys with questions but I had another question.I was looking to creating a caste system,I had an idea how my caste system should look Ruling Elites are on the top and the Undesirables (bottom,they are like slaves)
I looked at the Indian and Egyptian but they seemed a little bit too rigid. I know in caste system,you can't move up to certain positions or married certain people because where you were born but wanting something where you could get degree and get certain job.Anybody got an idea how about to create a caste system?

thebloodfiend
01-17-2013, 09:40 AM
This question doesn't really belong here. It isn't central to YA. It belongs in the Story Research section. It's here (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=66).

You'll get more responses posting over there.

I'm also noticing that your only posts are to start threads. Perhaps you should participate more? Or get into writing the novel a bit? Just a suggestion...

AshyPrincess
01-17-2013, 09:42 AM
I'm sorry,I keep bothering you guys with questions but I had another question.I was looking to creating a caste system,I had an idea how my caste system should look Ruling Elites are on the top and the Undesirables (bottom,they are like slaves)
I looked at the Indian and Egyptian but they seemed a little bit too rigid. I know in caste system,you can't move up to certain positions or married certain people because where you were born but wanting something where you could get degree and get certain job.Anybody got an idea how about to create a caste system?

RichardGarfinkle
01-17-2013, 11:44 AM
I would start with the underlying reason the caste system exists.

Is there a cultural or religious belief that people are born to the job they are meant to have?

Do the castes keep the secrets of their professions so that no one born outside a caste could learn to do the jobs?

Are some castes members of different ethnicities (perhaps lower castes are from a conquered people, upper caste were the conquerers)?

Then start allocating professions into castes with the most respected jobs going to the higher castes, least to the lowest.

Figure out how the culture treats cross caste marriage (is it forbidden, if not how are the castes of the children decided?)

Work out the social customs that maintain the caste system (how is deference shown, what rights and responsibilites belong to each caste etc)

As you get closer to having to create characters, think about what the life of a person in each character's caste would be shaped by the system and their particular caste. Figure out what they have learned are the possibiltiies and impossibilities in their lives because of their caste, etc.

BDSEmpire
01-17-2013, 11:50 AM
How to create a caste system? Easy peasy: spend some time on wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caste_system_in_India) reading about caste systems to get a feel for how they've done this in real life. Then tweak as needed.

You think the castes are too rigid? That's the whole point - they *are* rigid. But, it also lends stability and a sense of place to your society. You know that your dad was a merchant and his dad a merchant and merchants your whole family shall be (assuming you don't bring some horrible shame on them that reduces your lot to beggars or some other vile untouchable). You'll never be anything but merchants so you don't have to go out and strive or seek to better yourself - just do well enough.

Take a look at the strict social layering of ancient China and you'll get a feel for the same sort of stable but dull social organization. You've got farmers, bureaucrats and royalty with no room for interchange or progression up the ladder except by some truly remarkable event. It's nice to know that you have a job and a place in your society.

Then again, all of that is pretty alien to the fluid social strata we have here in the US. Oh sure, the highest social layers are pretty well walled off to easy entry but if you manage to do something novel (found a software company, build a better widget) and make a ton of money then you'll find that all sorts of doors open for you. That's the key difference in our society - it *is* possible to change your status and people do this all the time.

In a caste system you live, you labor, you die as an X. Your worst fear is to piss off someone of higher status than you because they can make your life a misery. Lower status folks can get the hell out of your way - they don't count.

areteus
01-17-2013, 03:58 PM
Yes, a caste system is by definition rigid... once you are in that caste you cannot move from it, nor can your children or their children. If you want less rigidity you may have to find some term other than caste for it... I had a similar problem and did not really find a solution for it. One of the cultures in Waypoint divided into three 'areas' - Warriors, Shaman and Crafters - but they were not castes because you were not born into them but trained into them based on your aptitudes in youth. I never really thought of a decent term for that other than caste that fitted the culture appropriately....

King Neptune
01-17-2013, 05:45 PM
If you want to make a caste system that is more flexible that the one in India, then start with something and add exceptions, which is what has been going on in India for a few hundred years.

Rockweaver
01-17-2013, 06:13 PM
i used wiki for the basics and then reduced the size of the classes to fit the size of the working population in my book.

king , queen , duke, count, earl and knights. that was about as far as i felt a need to go

Spy_on_the_Inside
01-18-2013, 05:58 AM
Maybe we could offer more helpful advice if we knew the basic premiss of the world you want to create.

frimble3
01-18-2013, 08:12 AM
Design your caste system, then figure out what exception your society would value.
Could be academic prowess: if someone is smart enough to do well on exams, they can move up. Could be military skill: if a low-caste foot soldier does really well in war, he can be promoted well above his 'natural' level. If making money is valued, someone who manages to make a fortune from nothing, his birth caste can be glossed over.
The exception will say something about the values of your society, just as the caste does.
And, think of the 'nouveau-riche' or ancient Roman 'freedmen': they may have received a boost in status, but people still remember thier origins, and may mock their 'incorrect' behaviour, or remind them of their roots.

Dave Hardy
01-18-2013, 06:47 PM
There's a theory that early Indo-European society was structured into three castes: warriors, priests, and common folk. It's important to note the distinction, in a caste society one is born into a caste, choice is not an option. A class society may not have much social mobility, but it is conceptually possible to change one's class.

Back to the Indo-Europeans, the theory is that way back before the Bronze Age society settled into those three functions, which are reflected to some degree in the later cultures that emerged. That makes druids cognates of brahmans for example. The theory emphasizes three deities that reflect the castes: Thor for the warriors, Odin for kings & priests, Frey for farmers.

Further, there is often a "fourth" caste composed of some conquered people who remain downtrodden, semi-slaves. An example is the dasyu from the Rig Vedas (a controversial thesis, to say the least).

If you want to write a thesis on I-E society you'd need to do a lot of research (like all theories about I-E society, this one is contested). If you just want to develop some concepts for a fantasy tale, then all you need is to get some ideas for inspiration.

BDSEmpire
01-19-2013, 09:59 AM
Design your caste system, then figure out what exception your society would value.
Could be academic prowess: if someone is smart enough to do well on exams, they can move up.

What? No.

That's the whole point of a caste system, you don't look for exceptions because there aren't any exceptions. A place for everyone and everyone in their place. No movement, no guessing, no change. Society and your place in it is rigidly defined from birth though you can always mess up and go *down* in caste.

That's not to say that you can't make some other kind of stratified social organization that has the option for mobility for the best and brightest, but I think you'd be making an error in understanding to call it a caste system.

It's probably important to mention that to Western eyes and to modern Indian society the caste system is seen as a racist, archaic throwback to older times and it has no place in modern polite society. People have been struggling for years for recognition of their basic humanity rather than being seen as untouchables. It's definitely a hot political topic for the region because it speaks to basic social structures and that's always a fertile ground for shouting matches.

frimble3
01-19-2013, 10:55 AM
What? No.

That's the whole point of a caste system, you don't look for exceptions because there aren't any exceptions. A place for everyone and everyone in their place. No movement, no guessing, no change. Society and your place in it is rigidly defined from birth though you can always mess up and go *down* in caste.

That's not to say that you can't make some other kind of stratified social organization that has the option for mobility for the best and brightest, but I think you'd be making an error in understanding to call it a caste system.

It's probably important to mention that to Western eyes and to modern Indian society the caste system is seen as a racist, archaic throwback to older times and it has no place in modern polite society. People have been struggling for years for recognition of their basic humanity rather than being seen as untouchables. It's definitely a hot political topic for the region because it speaks to basic social structures and that's always a fertile ground for shouting matches.
Yes, you're right. I got the wrong word entirely. Dave Hardy's post, just above yours, also makes it clear that I've confused 'class' system with 'caste' system, the difference being the immutability of castes.
Sorry for confusing matters.

areteus
01-19-2013, 01:26 PM
Class system probably works best - if the groups are hierarchial (i.e. there is a clear and well established system where one group is higher than the others). The problem I had was that class did not work either (though I think that was what I ended up using) because ostensibly the classes were supposed to be equal (even though in practise they were not, the intention was for them to be equal but following generations slowly imposed differences in class).

Keyan
01-19-2013, 03:02 PM
Yes, you're right. I got the wrong word entirely. Dave Hardy's post, just above yours, also makes it clear that I've confused 'class' system with 'caste' system, the difference being the immutability of castes.
Sorry for confusing matters.

Brave New World does a really clever job of creating a caste system that doesn't actually rely on Indo-European historical structures.

areteus
01-21-2013, 04:40 AM
Actually, yes, I had forgotten about that... the clone batch system with genetic engineering to determine if you are an alpha or beta...

GATTACA has a similar idea, with genetically superior people seperated from the inferior ones (regardless of dodgy genetics which made me and several others with experience of it cringe...)