Reworking Culture

Relatedness, Rites, and Resources in the Garo Hills, North East India

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ISBN:

9788194831693

Publication date:

15/01/2022

Hardback

328 pages

We sell our titles through other companies
Disclaimer :You will be redirected to a third party website.The sole responsibility of supplies, condition of the product, availability of stock, date of delivery, mode of payment will be as promised by the said third party only. Prices and specifications may vary from the OUP India site.

ISBN:

9788194831693

Publication date:

15/01/2022

Hardback

328 pages

Erik de Maaker

This book provides intimate insights into the lives of farmers in Garo Hills, North-East India. Based on a long-term ethnographic engagement, it focuses on followers of traditional Garo animism, whose land constitutes their most important resource. In response to new economic and political opportunities, as well as to changes in the ontological landscape, people continually reinterpret the multiple relationships that connect them as a community, as well as to the spirits, and the land.

Rights:  World Rights

Erik de Maaker

Description

Reworking Culture: Relatedness, Rites, and Resources in Garo Hills, North-East India provides intimate insights into the lives of Garo hill farmers, and the challenges they face in day-to-day life. Focusing on the ongoing reinterpretation of traditions, or customs, the book reveals the inadequacy of the all too often assumed characterization of upland societies as culturally homogenous, internally cohesive, and unchanging. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, the book focuses on a rural area where land constitutes the most important resource, and where a substantial number of people practise traditional Garo animism. The book explores how people create and continually reinterpret the multiple relationships that connect them as a community, to the spirits, and to the land. These relationships are embedded in normative frameworks that call for compliance, yet leave room for ambiguity and negotiation. Far from being immutable, these need to be constantly expressed, (re-)interpreted, and enacted. The book thus shows how Garo traditions, referred to as niam, are continuously revised and reworked in response to new economic and political opportunities, as well as to changes in the ontological landscape.

About the Author:

Erik de Maaker is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at Leiden University in the Netherlands. His research interests include place making, relatedness, religion, heritage, materiality, visuality, and the life cycle. Erik is also a visual anthropologist. His publications include the co-edited Media, Indigeneity and Nation in South Asia (Routledge 2019); and Unequal land Relations in North East India: Custom, Gender and the Market (NESRC 2020) as well as Trans-Himalayan Environmental Humanities: Symbiotic Indigeneity and the Animist Earth (Routledge, 2021). He is a founding member of the Asian Borderlands Research Network.

Erik de Maaker

Table of contents

Contents

Preface/Acknowledgements
Transliteration, Pronunciation, and Quotation
Glossary of Terms
List of Figures

I Customizing Culture?
1.1 Locating Garo Culture
1.2 Creating Community
1.3 Continuing Conversations
1.4 Structure of the Book

II Frames, Labels, Locations
2.1 Spatial Divides
2.2 Garo Conversions
2.3 Becoming Citizens
2.4 Constituting 'Tribe'
2.5 Ethnic Politics, Militancy, and the Demand for Statehood

III Housing Matters
3.1 Jiji's Plight
3.2 Modelling Relatedness
3.3 Living with Houses
3.4 The Birth of a House
3.5 Bracing for Social Pressure?
3.6 Houses of Relatedness

IV Niam, Houses and Land
4.1 It would be good if he died!
4.2 Practising Niam
4.3 Living with the Spirits
4.4 Occupying the Land
4.5 Landed Responsibilities and Religious Stature
4.6 Negotiating the Growth of the Crops

V Engaging the Dead
5.1 The Religiosity of Funerals
5.2 Souls and their Wanderings
5.3 Anticipating Death
5.4 Death's Demands
5.5 Engaging Gifts
5.6 Acknowledging the Source
5.7 Vouching to Slaughter a Cow
5.8 Putrefaction and Presence
5.9 Separating, Distancing, and Reconnecting

VI Claiming Relationships, Spaces, and Resources
6.1 Replacing Baka
6.2 Constituting Mutuality
6.3 Showing Commitment, Acknowledging Debt
6.4 Rural Workers, Rural Entrepreneurs
6.5 Accessing Swidden
6.6 From Rotating Swiddens to Permanent Occupation
6.7 Living on the Land
VII Customizing Traditions
7.1 The State as a Resource
7.2 Reinterpreting Status, Wealth, and Prestige
7.3 Polarities and Convergences

VIII The Modernity of Garo Niam
8.1 Cherishing Tradition
8.2 How Niam Facilitates Social Change
8.3 Reworking Niam

Erik de Maaker

Erik de Maaker

Erik de Maaker

Description

Reworking Culture: Relatedness, Rites, and Resources in Garo Hills, North-East India provides intimate insights into the lives of Garo hill farmers, and the challenges they face in day-to-day life. Focusing on the ongoing reinterpretation of traditions, or customs, the book reveals the inadequacy of the all too often assumed characterization of upland societies as culturally homogenous, internally cohesive, and unchanging. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, the book focuses on a rural area where land constitutes the most important resource, and where a substantial number of people practise traditional Garo animism. The book explores how people create and continually reinterpret the multiple relationships that connect them as a community, to the spirits, and to the land. These relationships are embedded in normative frameworks that call for compliance, yet leave room for ambiguity and negotiation. Far from being immutable, these need to be constantly expressed, (re-)interpreted, and enacted. The book thus shows how Garo traditions, referred to as niam, are continuously revised and reworked in response to new economic and political opportunities, as well as to changes in the ontological landscape.

About the Author:

Erik de Maaker is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at Leiden University in the Netherlands. His research interests include place making, relatedness, religion, heritage, materiality, visuality, and the life cycle. Erik is also a visual anthropologist. His publications include the co-edited Media, Indigeneity and Nation in South Asia (Routledge 2019); and Unequal land Relations in North East India: Custom, Gender and the Market (NESRC 2020) as well as Trans-Himalayan Environmental Humanities: Symbiotic Indigeneity and the Animist Earth (Routledge, 2021). He is a founding member of the Asian Borderlands Research Network.

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Table of contents

Contents

Preface/Acknowledgements
Transliteration, Pronunciation, and Quotation
Glossary of Terms
List of Figures

I Customizing Culture?
1.1 Locating Garo Culture
1.2 Creating Community
1.3 Continuing Conversations
1.4 Structure of the Book

II Frames, Labels, Locations
2.1 Spatial Divides
2.2 Garo Conversions
2.3 Becoming Citizens
2.4 Constituting 'Tribe'
2.5 Ethnic Politics, Militancy, and the Demand for Statehood

III Housing Matters
3.1 Jiji's Plight
3.2 Modelling Relatedness
3.3 Living with Houses
3.4 The Birth of a House
3.5 Bracing for Social Pressure?
3.6 Houses of Relatedness

IV Niam, Houses and Land
4.1 It would be good if he died!
4.2 Practising Niam
4.3 Living with the Spirits
4.4 Occupying the Land
4.5 Landed Responsibilities and Religious Stature
4.6 Negotiating the Growth of the Crops

V Engaging the Dead
5.1 The Religiosity of Funerals
5.2 Souls and their Wanderings
5.3 Anticipating Death
5.4 Death's Demands
5.5 Engaging Gifts
5.6 Acknowledging the Source
5.7 Vouching to Slaughter a Cow
5.8 Putrefaction and Presence
5.9 Separating, Distancing, and Reconnecting

VI Claiming Relationships, Spaces, and Resources
6.1 Replacing Baka
6.2 Constituting Mutuality
6.3 Showing Commitment, Acknowledging Debt
6.4 Rural Workers, Rural Entrepreneurs
6.5 Accessing Swidden
6.6 From Rotating Swiddens to Permanent Occupation
6.7 Living on the Land
VII Customizing Traditions
7.1 The State as a Resource
7.2 Reinterpreting Status, Wealth, and Prestige
7.3 Polarities and Convergences

VIII The Modernity of Garo Niam
8.1 Cherishing Tradition
8.2 How Niam Facilitates Social Change
8.3 Reworking Niam

Read More