ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Changing Notions of the Indian Family

Changing Notions of the Indian Family The Family in India: Structure and Practice edited by Tulsi Patel; Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2005;
IMTIAZ AHMAD The study of the family in India originated at the confluence of the two somewhat dissimilar academic disciplines of history and anthropology joined at a later stage by sociology. Early British investigations into the nature of the family in India were of a legal and practical nature aimed at establishing property rights and the responsibility for the payment of revenue. The anthropological concentration of investigations on the family permitted the view of the family as an institution among others. However, the almost exclusive concentration of anthropological investigations on structures perceived as the unchanging basis of events led to the drawing of a rather static picture. Two significant developments have in the past decades brought dynamism to the study of the family. The first is the deconstruction of historical continuity through empirical observation of behaviour. The second is the reintroduction of history aided by the historicisation of gender. This book, the outcome of the decision of the Indian Sociological Society which completes its silver jubilee this year, to publish selections of essays that appeared in the journal, Sociological Bulletin, on a variety of themes, constitutes an attempt to look at the development of the study of the family in India.

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