We Were Adivasis

We Were Adivasis

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qWe Were Adivasisq by anthropologist Megan Moodie examines the Indian state s relationship to Scheduled Tribes, historically oppressed groups that are entitled to affirmative action benefits. The ethnography centers on the Dhanka of Jaipur. To prove that they are worthy of affirmative action benefits, the Dhankas must demonstrate that they are culturally tribal. Yet they must simultaneously avoid the stigma of supposed tribal primitivity and militancy. Moodie explains that the Dhankas accomplish this precarious balancing act by asserting their identity in the past tense. The phrase we were qAdivasisq is thus emblematic of their stance. As Moodie shows, women bear the heaviest burden for preserving cultural identity, and marrying and playing a supportive role in the home have become the main objectives for young women instead of education and employment. At the same time, women express deep ambivalence toward community uplift projects that favor collective aspirations over their own. Moodie offers timely reflections on the current debates over affirmative action, warning that as economic liberalization weakens the reservations system, groups like the Dhanka increasingly resort to political strategies that privilege community welfare at the expense of women.qAspiration in an Indian Scheduled Tribe Megan Moodie ... She, by contrast, did not have to bother about such things so that her free time, when she was watching Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki or Kabhi sas bhi ... as a useful cultural prop for the maintenance of womena#39;s separate traditions or even seduction (Raheja and Gold 1994).

Title:We Were Adivasis
Author:Megan Moodie
Publisher:University of Chicago Press - 2015-08-20


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