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.

How Egalitarian Is Indian Sociology?

Even after completing a hundred years Indian sociology is practised in the milieu of domination. British, European and American domination has been well documented while the domination of the so-called twice-born castes has not been analysed. This article highlights the domination of the twice-born castes at four levels--as members practising sociology in universities, institutions and colleges, in the sphere of production of knowledge while writing chapters of books, producing knowledge with the help of scriptural sources, or producing data from the field and while teaching sociology in the classrooms.

Light Shines through Gossamer Threads

Gender relations in some adivasi (tribal) societies are relatively more egalitarian than among other communities but enormous changes are now taking place in their resource base and livelihoods. How does this affect the women's spaces in the domestic and public spheres? This paper explores the process of change as a scattered semi-nomadic group of adivasi foragers come together to form a village settlement. Focusing on one family, and one woman among them, it reflects upon whether and how an indigenous democratic fabric and relative gender egalitarianism may be retained in the face of structural changes in the adivasi life worlds. Using a personal narrative, shaped by different 'dialogical levels', the paper traces the dialogical stages through which the 'story' unfolds. It suggests that the narrative as a qualitative research tool may be used to interrogate women's political spaces and to bring the family into development discourse.

Life Histories and Long-Term Change

Not only do life histories provide insights into the complexity and variety of individual lives and social relationships, they enable us to identify patterns and issues of greater generality. Analysing the'life histories' collected in course of fieldwork in a West Bengal village, this paper seeks in turn to understand rural livelihoods, while also exploring the methodological issues involved in using such information to complement other qualitative and quantitative data.

Metaphors of Membership

Culture, Space and the NationState: From Sentiment to Structure by Dipankar Gupta; Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2000; pp 282, Rs 445.
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