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Village Matters Relocating Villages in the Contemporary Anthropology of India

ISBN: 9780198063339 | 0198063334
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Pub. Date: 3/19/2010

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This collection of essays aims at a critical re-engagement, within anthropological discourse, with the concept of the 'village.' Going against the grain of contemporary anthropological trends, Village Matters revisits and re-situates the 'village' in the social and humanistic study of India. The essays show in various ways that, regardless of the loss of villages in contemporary Western academic discourse, villagers in fact continue to shape not only the land through their labor, but also shape their own and others' political, social, economic, ritual and imaginary lives. Thus, the village proves to be an aspect of world-shaping activity not only within and between villages, but also far beyond. The contributors use a broadly interpretive approach to address how villages matter in relation to a variety of regional and global practices, including irrigation, democracy, religious movements, nationalism, ecology, labour migration, political movements, military service, and cinematic representation. They show, in no uncertain terms, that villages in India and elsewhere have been and continue to be vibrant grounds for the production of culture, sociality, environments, bodies, and persons. Several essays also address anthropology's forfeiture of the village as a subject of study in an era of globalization.

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