ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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An Ethnographic Account of the Musahars

Intervention, Identity and Marginality

This paper provides an ethnographic account of the changing facets of marginality for the Musahars of Uttar Pradesh. It takes a close look at how their identity is shaped by the resistance of those at the margins, by politics, and by interventions on the part of external agencies. The research deconstructs (i) the everyday resistance of the Musahars, as evident from their songs and poetry; (ii) the talk of state officials and state policies about Musahars; and (iii) the discourse of social activists, organisations and donor agencies. Armed with this information, the paper attempts to view the world from the perspective of the Musahars and focuses on how they negotiate diverse discourses to their advantage in order to transgress the boundaries of marginality, and how this process changes the notion of marginality for them.



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