Early Buddhism was a predominantly spiritual movement which should ideally culminate in Enlightenment. Yet, it was embedded in the specific social environment of ancient India which included a hereditary caste system. Using the Buddhist Pāli texts and non-Buddhist literature from up until the last centuries BCE the article examines the four main hereditary categories (vaṇṇa, jāti, gotta, and kula) and how Early Buddhism related to them. We conclude that the Buddha and Early Buddhism did not oppose but rather confirmed the hereditary systems in society as well as its designations within the monastic community. The Buddha hereby followed the customs of earlier ascetic movements and imposed no specific rules on the monastics to eradicate their former social identity.
This article analyzes the social content of spatial order concept and manifestations of social participation in shaping this order using two examples: shaping the safety of public spaces and revitalizing cities. The author concludes with proposals to increase public participation in the creation of spatial order.
This article examines Henryk Sienkiewicz’s proto-racist distinction between the gentry and the commoners in his novel With Fire and Sword (1883–1884). This division, which is believed to be part of the divine world order, credits the commoners with an inferior humanity. It is founded on a set of essentialist beliefs – that social class is inherited, that ‘noble blood’ confers superiority, and that physiognomy bespeaks high birth (you can tell a noblemen or noblewoman by their physical appearance). As the article claims, Sienkiewicz allows no room for a voice questioning those beliefs, let alone exposing their class-bound arbitrariness.