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

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Practices as Political

Whether the “practising Adivasi” or the practitioners of traditional knowledge are subjects of different rationality is examined here. Through a study of the Lepcha traditional practices in the east Himalayas, it is argued that the practising Adivasi or indigenous peoples are indeed presenting empirical sites of “ethico-political articulations,” or “Ecosophy,” a term Félix Guattari uses in The Three Ecologies to advocate a normative theory and a “futuristic” approach. The study affirms that the recalcitrant Adivasis, who, as groups of our times, are presenting us with life-sustaining zones of pristine biodiversity as alternatives to the nature-devouring, deep industrialisation models of the modern state.

Civilisational Change: Markets and Privatisation among Indigenous Peoples

The paper deals with changes in the social and economic system of indigenous peoples upon integration into market systems. The change in production norms is not confined to elite accumulation but also results in a change at all levels, marking a civilisational change from a system based on stability to one based on accumulation. The new norms, however,come at the price of loss of guaranteed access to productive resources, the decline of traditional social welfare systems and the spread of commoditisation. Such a transition, however, need not be a surrender to laissez-faire or neo-liberal policies, but can deal with negativities, including increasing masculine domination. New forms of community and continued non-market access to critical resources, like land and forests, would allow for a greater spread of the benefits.

Of Surviving Change

Contested Belonging: An Indigenous People’s Struggle for Forest and Identity in SubHimalayan Bengal by B G Karlsson; Curzon Press, UK, 2000; pp 310+XVIII, price not stated.
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