Fluid Signs

Author: E. Valentine Daniel
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520061675
Release Date: 1987-09-23
Genre: Social Science

"Daniel is brilliant, and this work is the product of all his powers of imagination and expression. He is also a flawless scholar: bilingual, so that his translations are accurate; gifted, so that they are charming; well-read, so that his discussions are set in the full context of previous scholarship; and very, very funny, so that his depictions of the quandaries of his informants, as well as himself, are a joy to read."—Wendy O'Flaherty

Public Faces Private Lives

Author: Mattison Mines
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520914597
Release Date: 1994-12-19
Genre: Social Science

Individuality is often viewed as an exclusively Western value. In non-Western societies, collective identities seem to eclipse those of individuals. These generalities, however, have overlooked the importance of personal uniqueness, volition, and achievement in these cultures. As an anthropologist in Tamil Nadu, South India, Mattison Mines found private and public expressions of self in all sectors of society. Based on his twenty-five years of field research, Public Faces, Private Voices weaves together personal life stories, historical description, and theoretical analysis to define individuality in South Asia and to distinguish it from its Western counterpart. This engaging and controversial book will be of great interest to scholars and students working in anthropology, psychology, sociology, South Asian history, urban studies, and political science.

Birth on the Threshold

Author: Cecilia Van Hollen
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520223594
Release Date: 2003-10-16
Genre: Social Science

Extrait de la couverture : "Even childbirth is affected by globalization - and in India, as elsewhere, the trends is away from home birhts assisted by midwives towards hospital births that increasingly rely on new technologies. and yet, as this work of critical feminist ethnography clearly demonstrates, as biomedical models of childbirth spread throughout the globe, they fuse with local practices to create distinctive forms of modern birth. Through vivid description and animyted dialogue, this book conveys the birth stories of the women of Tamil Nadu in their own voices. Cecilia Van Hollen uses these stories to explore larger questions about how the structures of colonialism and postcolonial international and national development have helped to shape the form and meaning of birth for Indian women today."

Thaipusam in Malaysia

Author: Carl Vadivella Belle
Publisher: Flipside Digital Content Company Inc.
ISBN: 9789814786669
Release Date: 2018-02-14
Genre: Social Science

This book explores the festival of Thaipusam in terms of its own inner dynamics - the traditions and belief structures which ensure the festival's continuing relevance to Malaysian Hindus. It argues that Thaipusam reflects a growing sense of Hindu identity in Malaysia and an as yet inchoate unity. It contends that while the kavadi ritual provides profound meaning at the individual and group level, Thaipusam furnishes a public arena for and gives expression to a powerful Hindu resurgence, largely, though not exclusively, fuelled by Dravidian assertiveness. In situating the festival within the context of a Malaysia dominated by Malay and Islamic power brokers, a society in which both the Indian community and Hinduism are relegated to the margins, the book explores the festival of Thaipusam as a vehicle for mobilization of religious symbols and values which not only simultaneously articulate ethnicity and thus resist the forces which threaten cultural and religious integrity, but which also ultimately signal wider allegiances to the broader politico-cultural world of an imagined, immeasurably rich, and enduring Indo-Hindu civilization.

The Self Possessed

Author: Frederick M. Smith
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231510653
Release Date: 2006-12-05
Genre: Social Science

The Self Possessed is a multifaceted, diachronic study reconsidering the very nature of religion in South Asia, the culmination of years of intensive research. Frederick M. Smith proposes that positive oracular or ecstatic possession is the most common form of spiritual expression in India, and that it has been linguistically distinguished from negative, disease-producing possession for thousands of years. In South Asia possession has always been broader and more diverse than in the West, where it has been almost entirely characterized as "demonic." At best, spirit possession has been regarded as a medically treatable psychological ailment and at worst, as a condition that requires exorcism or punishment. In South (and East) Asia, ecstatic or oracular possession has been widely practiced throughout history, occupying a position of respect in early and recent Hinduism and in certain forms of Buddhism. Smith analyzes Indic literature from all ages-the earliest Vedic texts; the Mahabharata; Buddhist, Jain, Yogic, Ayurvedic, and Tantric texts; Hindu devotional literature; Sanskrit drama and narrative literature; and more than a hundred ethnographies. He identifies several forms of possession, including festival, initiatory, oracular, and devotional, and demonstrates their multivocality within a wide range of sects and religious identities. Possession is common among both men and women and is practiced by members of all social and caste strata. Smith theorizes on notions of embodiment, disembodiment, selfhood, personal identity, and other key issues through the prism of possession, redefining the relationship between Sanskritic and vernacular culture and between elite and popular religion. Smith's study is also comparative, introducing considerable material from Tibet, classical China, modern America, and elsewhere. Brilliant and persuasive, The Self Possessed provides careful new translations of rare material and is the most comprehensive study in any language on this subject.

Capricious Worlds

Author: John Chr Knudsen
Publisher: LIT Verlag Münster
ISBN: 3825881083
Release Date: 2005
Genre: Social Science

Capricious Worlds covers a period of 20 years of exile. Through the life journeys of Vietnamese refugees, the book presents a world rich in experience and wisdom, where the will to survive is complemented by the skills to do so. Individuals must learn to conquer systems that transform human beings into numbers, and men, women and children into de-personalized figures. The transformations render an unsettling peace that refugees struggle against, inspired by a search for recognition, a search not only for what is lost, but also for what might yet be. The book is about refugees en route to, and in, Norway. It also speaks to the challenges of being exiled in general: a reality for 40 million refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide.

Clarity Cut and Culture

Author: Susan Falls
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 9781479834396
Release Date: 2014-06-13
Genre: Social Science

Images of diamonds appear everywhere in American culture. And everyone who has a diamond has a story to tell about it. Our stories about diamonds not only reveal what we do with these tiny stones, but also suggest how we create value, meaning, and identity through our interactions with material culture in general. Things become meaningful through our interactions with them, but how do people go about making meaning? What can we learn from an ethnography about the production of identity, creation of kinship, and use of diamonds in understanding selves and social relationships? By what means do people positioned within a globalized political-economy and a compelling universe of advertising interact locally with these tiny polished rocks? This book draws on 12 months of fieldwork with diamond consumers in New York City as well as an analysis of the iconic De Beers campaign that promised romance, status, and glamour to anyone who bought a diamond to show that this thematic pool is just one resource among many that diamond owners draw upon to engage with their own stones. The volume highlights the important roles that memory, context, and circumstance also play in shaping how people interpret and then use objects in making personal worlds. It shows that besides operating as subjects in an ad-burdened universe, consumers are highly creative, idiosyncratic, and theatrical agents.

Wombs in Labor

Author: Amrita Pande
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231538183
Release Date: 2014-09-23
Genre: Social Science

Surrogacy is India's new form of outsourcing, as couples from all over the world hire Indian women to bear their children for a fraction of the cost of surrogacy elsewhere with little to no government oversight or regulation. In the first detailed ethnography of India's surrogacy industry, Amrita Pande visits clinics and hostels and speaks with surrogates and their families, clients, doctors, brokers, and hostel matrons in order to shed light on this burgeoning business and the experiences of the laborers within it. From recruitment to training to delivery, Pande's research focuses on how reproduction meets production in surrogacy and how this reflects characteristics of India's larger labor system. Pande's interviews prove surrogates are more than victims of disciplinary power, and she examines the strategies they deploy to retain control over their bodies and reproductive futures. While some women are coerced into the business by their families, others negotiate with clients and their clinics to gain access to technologies and networks otherwise closed to them. As surrogates, the women Pande meets get to know and make the most of advanced medical discoveries. They traverse borders and straddle relationships that test the boundaries of race, class, religion, and nationality. Those who focus on the inherent inequalities of India's surrogacy industry believe the practice should be either banned or strictly regulated. Pande instead advocates for a better understanding of this complex labor market, envisioning an international model of fair-trade surrogacy founded on openness and transparency in all business, medical, and emotional exchanges.

Sacred Pain

Author: Ariel Glucklich
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199839490
Release Date: 2003-10-30
Genre: Religion

Why would anyone seek out the very experience the rest of us most wish to avoid? Why would religious worshipers flog or crucify themselves, sleep on spikes, hang suspended by their flesh, or walk for miles through scorching deserts with bare and bloodied feet? In this insightful new book, Ariel Glucklich argues that the experience of ritual pain, far from being a form of a madness or superstition, contains a hidden rationality and can bring about a profound transformation of the consciousness and identity of the spiritual seeker. Steering a course between purely cultural and purely biological explanations, Glucklich approaches sacred pain from the perspective of the practitioner to fully examine the psychological and spiritual effects of self-hurting. He discusses the scientific understanding of pain, drawing on research in fields such as neuropsychology and neurology. He also ranges over a broad spectrum of historical and cultural contexts, showing the many ways mystics, saints, pilgrims, mourners, shamans, Taoists, Muslims, Hindus, Native Americans, and indeed members of virtually every religion have used pain to achieve a greater identification with God. He examines how pain has served as a punishment for sin, a cure for disease, a weapon against the body and its desires, or a means by which the ego may be transcended and spiritual sickness healed. "When pain transgresses the limits," the Muslim mystic Mizra Asadullah Ghalib is quoted as saying, "it becomes medicine." Based on extensive research and written with both empathy and critical insight, Sacred Pain explores the uncharted inner terrain of self-hurting and reveals how meaningful suffering has been used to heal the human spirit.

Winged Faith

Author: Tulasi Srinivas
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231520522
Release Date: 2010-06-10
Genre: Religion

The Sathya Sai global civil religious movement incorporates Hindu and Muslim practices, Buddhist, Christian, and Zoroastrian influences, and "New Age"-style rituals and beliefs. Shri Sathya Sai Baba, its charismatic and controversial leader, attracts several million adherents from various national, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. In a dynamic account of the Sathya Sai movement's explosive growth, Winged Faith argues for a rethinking of globalization and the politics of identity in a religiously plural world. This study considers a new kind of cosmopolitanism located in an alternate understanding of difference and contestation. It considers how acts of "sacred spectating" and illusion, "moral stakeholding" and the problems of community are debated and experienced. A thrilling study of a transcultural and transurban phenomenon that questions narratives of self and being, circuits of sacred mobility, and the politics of affect, Winged Faith suggests new methods for discussing religion in a globalizing world and introduces readers to an easily critiqued yet not fully understood community.

Lines of the Nation

Author: Laura Bear
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231511513
Release Date: 2007-06-26
Genre: History

Lines of the Nation radically recasts the history of the Indian railways, which have long been regarded as vectors of modernity and economic prosperity. From the design of carriages to the architecture of stations, employment hierarchies, and the construction of employee housing, Laura Bear explores the new public spaces and social relationships created by the railway bureaucracy. She then traces their influence on the formation of contemporary Indian nationalism, personal sentiments, and popular memory. Her probing study challenges entrenched beliefs concerning the institutions of modernity and capitalism by showing that these rework older idioms of social distinction and are legitimized by forms of intimate, affective politics. Drawing on historical and ethnographic research in the company town at Kharagpur and at the Eastern Railway headquarters in Kolkata (Calcutta), Bear focuses on how political and domestic practices among workers became entangled with the moralities and archival technologies of the railway bureaucracy and illuminates the impact of this history today. The bureaucracy has played a pivotal role in the creation of idioms of family history, kinship, and ethics, and its special categorization of Anglo-Indian workers still resonates. Anglo-Indians were formed as a separate railway caste by Raj-era racial employment and housing policies, and other railway workers continue to see them as remnants of the colonial past and as a polluting influence. The experiences of Anglo-Indians, who are at the core of the ethnography, reveal the consequences of attempts to make political communities legitimate in family lines and sentiments. Their situation also compels us to rethink the importance of documentary practices and nationalism to all family histories and senses of relatedness. This interdisciplinary anthropological history throws new light not only on the imperial and national past of South Asia but also on the moral life of present technologies and economic institutions.

Jainism A Guide for the Perplexed

Author: Sherry Fohr
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 9781474227551
Release Date: 2015-01-29
Genre: Religion

Jainism is arguably the most non-violent and austere religion in the world. While lay Jains attempt to never harm humans or animals, the strict non-violence followed by the highly revered monks and nuns also proscribes harm to any living being, even a microscopic organism. And while laywomen (and a few laymen) undergo long and difficult fasts, the longest being for one month, renouncers' austerities also include pulling their hair out by the roots two to five times a year, walking bare-foot throughout India most of the year, and, in the case of some monks, not wearing any clothing at all. Jainism: A Guide for the Perplexed is a clear and thorough account of this fascinating tradition, explaining many basic Jain values, beliefs and practices in the same way they are taught to Jains themselves, through the medium of sacred narratives. Drawing from Jainism's copious and influential narrative tradition, the author explores the inner-logic of how renouncers' and laypeople's values and practices depend on an intricate Jain worldview.

Bodily Citations

Author: Ellen T. Armour
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231508643
Release Date: 2006-07-11
Genre: Social Science

In such works as Gender Trouble and Bodies That Matter Judith Butler broke new ground in understanding the construction and performance of identities. While Butler's writings have been crucial and often controversial in the development of feminist and queer theory, Bodily Citations is the first anthology centered on applying her theories to religion. In this collection scholars in anthropology, biblical studies, theology, ethics, and ritual studies use Butler's work to investigate a variety of topics in biblical, Islamic, Buddhist, and Christian traditions. The authors shed new light on Butler's ideas and highlight their ethical and political import. They also broaden the scope of religious studies as they bring it into conversation with feminist and queer theory. Subjects discussed include the woman's mosque movement in Cairo, the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, the possibility of queer ethics, religious ritual, and biblical constructions of sexuality. Contributors include: Karen Trimble Alliaume, Lewis University; Teresa Hornsby, Drury University; Amy Hollywood, Harvard Divinity School; Christina Hutchins, Pacific School of Religion; Saba Mahmood, University of California, Berkeley; Susanne Mrozik, Mount Holyoke College; Claudia Schippert, University of Central Florida; Rebecca Schneider, Brown University; Ken Stone, Chicago Theological Seminary

The Tamil Tigers

Author: Dagmar Hellmann-Rajanayagam
Publisher:
ISBN: UOM:39015032239652
Release Date: 1994
Genre: History