P065
Indian social anthropology in South Asian perspective: reflection and retrospection

Convenors:
Nava Kishor Das (Anthropological Survey of India)
Chair:
Dr. Nava Kishor Das
Location:
301 B
Start time:
15 May, 2014 at 17:30
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

Indian anthropology lacking a national identity and through outdated syllabuses ignores social exclusion and discrimination among Adivasis- Dalits-minorities. Cultural pluralism/ hybridity promise new postcolonial agenda as there is no strong rebuttal to 'Oriental' models in Indian anthropology.

Long abstract:

South Asian social anthropology suffers from an identity-crisis. Indeed, despite having a long tradition of anthropological research, Indian anthropology is yet to acquire a robust national identity. Anthropology in India has existed for almost two centuries. Originally pursuing only British Anthropology it did diversify its scope and some exceptional works could be brought out. Nevertheless, it largely suffered from mimical reliance on western theories and 'native' ethnographic narratives remained replicas of 'colonial era' monographs. University syllabuses and courses of study could not modernise. Decennary 'official-reviews' for last sixty years showed how sociology eclipsed social anthropology in India. Studies of village studies and 'little' and 'great' tradition/ Indic civilisation led to Americanization of the discipline and new imitations. Anthropology in south Asia suffers in the absence of strong rebuttal and challenge both to western representations and unjust formulations of Orientalism. This Panel aims to critically review the scopes and trends of anthropological research in contemporary South Asia/ India and to discuss the prospect of growth of intellectual 'indigenous models' and their applicability. Other aims includes reconsideration of official recognition as 'caste' and 'tribe' of Indian communities and its pitfalls and placing the predicaments of marginalised Adivasis, Dalits, minorities and womenfolk within the constructs of social exclusion, discrimination, displacement and violence. An additional aim is to deliberate on themes of cultural pluralism and hybridity within postcolonial agenda.