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

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Village Restudies

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."

Revisiting the Rural in 21st Century India

The Review of Rural Affairs this time focuses largely on "restudies" of villages that were studied by social anthropologists and economists in the 1950s. The papers are not simply about documenting the unfolding evolutionary process of development, but bring new perspectives of social science understanding to the study of rural society, and also reflect on the enterprise of anthropology and fieldwork. Jamgod in Madhya Pradesh, Sundarana in Gujarat, Bisipara in Odisha, and Palanpur and Khanpur in Uttar Pradesh were restudied, while one paper presents the results of a fresh study of villages in Nagaland.

F G Bailey's Bisipara Revisited

F G Bailey, the renowned British social anthropologist, conducted fieldwork in Bisipara in the highlands of Orissa in the 1950s to examine the ways in which the state, democracy and new forms of economy were changing the traditional organisation and apprehension of power and status. At the time, and following the Temple Entry Act, the former untouchables of the village attempted to gain entry to the Shiva temple. On that occasion, and as Bailey recounts, they were unsuccessful. A new fieldwork conducted in 2013 in the same location presents an update of the continuing drama surrounding the Shiva temple, against a backdrop of the changing polity and economy of the village, and as a manifestation of contested postcolonial identity politics.
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