Identity, Gender, and Poverty: New Perspectives on Caste and Tribe in Rajasthan

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Berghahn Books, 1997 - Social Science - 291 pages
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Most studies of the so-called tribal communities in India stress their social, economic, and political differences from communities that are organized on the basis of caste. It was this apparent contrast between tribal and caste lifestyle and, moreover, the paucity of material on tribal groups, that motivated the author to undertake this study of a poor "tribal" community, the Girasia, in northwestern India.

While carrying out her fieldwork, the author soon became aware that the traditional tribe-caste categories needed to be revised; in fact, she found them more often than not to be constructs by outsiders, mostly academic. Of greater importance for an understanding of the Girasia was the wider and more complex issue of self-perception and identification by others that must be seen in the context of their poverty as well as in the strategic and shifting use of kinship, gender and class relations in the region.

 

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Contents

Historical Background The Rajput State
45
Writing and Representing the Rajputs
59
Rajputs and Girasias in Independent India
69
Being a Girasia The Lineage and the Village
94
Across Villages Marriage Ideals Practices and Strategies
121
Resource Management and the Divisions of Kinship and Gender
156
Girasia Brideprice and the Politics of Marriage Payments
189
Religion and the Experience of Kinship
215
Class Resistance and Identity
238
Figures
248
Conclusions
264
Rural Population of Garasias and Bhils in Rajasthan
270
Index
289
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About the author (1997)

Maya Unnithan-Kumar is Lecturer in Social Anthropology, School of African and Asian Studies, University of Sussex.

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