Dalits, the world’s largest marginalized group, have mobilized socially and electorally. This chapter introduces the puzzle of Dalit mobilization in India. It defines the three research questions central to addressing the puzzle. What factors shape the nature and the prospects of a marginalized group’s mobilization? How do social movements affect political parties? When does ethnic identity influence voting? It outlines the argument, and explains why mobilization of the marginalized matters. The chapter provides an overview of the social and institutional context for Dalit mobilization. It enumerates the research design, including the strategy for case study selection, and highlights the contributions of the book.
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