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

Trials and Tribulations

Edward Simpson (es7@soas.ac.uk) teaches Social Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is the author of The Political Biography of an Earthquake: Aftermath and Amnesia in Gujarat, India (Oxford University Press, 2013).

An account of the inception, management and initial conclusions of a research project which "restudied" three villages, one each in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat is presented. These villages had been first studied in the 1950s by British anthropologists F G Bailey, Adrian C Mayer and David F Pocock. The new research was to focus on the sociological conditions of life in these villages today and compare the results of the new surveys with the data from the 1950s. The material presented here also points to some of the strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncratic charms of "restudies."

The research introduced in this paper was funded by the United Kindgom’s Economic and Social Research Council (ES/I02123X/1). I am grateful to Patricia Jeffery for collaborating on the project and for her support throughout. Chris Fuller, Johnny Parry and Susan Wadley encouraged the project into existence. Without the foresight, generosity and trust of Adrian Mayer and F G Bailey the project could not have happened. The Centre for Social Studies in Surat gave us a home in India, we are particularly grateful to Akash Acharya and his colleagues for that.

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