Overview for Tradition, Pluralism and Identity
Nineteen distinguished scholars come together in this volume to honour the outstanding contribution of Professor T.N. Madan to the development of sociology and social anthropology in South Asia. Anchoring themselves to Professor Madan's engagement with the sociology of kinship, religion and politics, and with the moral domain of human life, the contributors address the linked themes of tradition, pluralism and identity across a wide range of topics. These include caste and communal identity, kinship and family, pilgrimage, traditional polity, ecology, social healing and the modern imaginary. The idea of tradition is regarded in many theoretical formulations either as a domain of unreflecting habit or as the residual term in the dyad of tradition and modernity. However, given its association with ideas of memory, invention and identity politics, the complex character of tradition has in recent years increasingly commanded the attention of scholars. The papers in the collection demonstrate the struggle by which a tradition must recognise itself in plurality and change, rather than in stasis. They show how the web of relations forged between tradition and modernity leaves a mark on tradition as it is encoded in everyday life. Taking the discussion of these issues in many unexpected and new directions, this volume provides a compelling account of the contemporaneity of tradition in South Asia. With its careful attention to ethnographic and historical complexity in the region, this volume will undoubtedly deepen our understanding of both tradition and modernity in South Asia. It will attract scholars interested in sociology, anthropology, religion, caste and kinship, history, ethnicity, and popular culture.
Dipankar Gupta (Author)
Dipankar Gupta is Professor of Sociology at the School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. The author of Rivalry and Brotherhood: Politics in the Life of Farmers in Northern India (OUP, 1997), The Context of Ethnicity: Sikh Identity in a Comparative Perspective (OUP, 1996), he has also edited Social Stratification (OUP, 1991) and more recently Anti-Utopia: Essential Writings of Andre Beteille (OUP, 2005). He is also co-editor of Contributions to Indian Sociology.
Veena Das (Editor)
Veena Das is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of anthropology at the Johns Hopkiins University, Baltimore, United States of America. Her publicatioins include Structure and Cognition: Aspects of Hindu Caste and Ritual (OUP, 1992), Critical Events: An anthropological Perspective on Contemporary India (OUP, 1996). Professor Das also edited the Oxford India Companion to Sociology and Social Anthropology (OUP, 2003).