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Structure, Consciousness and Social Transformation: The Adivasis in Thane District, Maharashtra

Denzil Saldanha (Author)

What is the role of human subjectivity and agency in the process of social transformation within given social structures? This study attempts to answer this complex question with an analysis covering close to two hundred of evolving adivasis/tribal experience and identity in Thane district, Maharashtra: from1818 with the entry of the British, 1944 to 1948 which was the highpoint of the adivasis revolt under the Kisan Sabha and the post independence period up to the present. The integrative processes of individuals and groups coming together in a collective organization in the defense of common interests which are perceived as threatened by the ‘other’ and the complex relation between mass-level consciousness and a coherent ideology held primarily by a leadership are factors considered as conducive to the development of an identity and political consciousness. An important focus has been the relation between the primordial adivasis and class identity.

The introductory theoretical section attempts to draw out epistemological and methodological implications for a study of class consciousness from theoretical positions that define the relationship between individual and collective consciousness, ideology and science in their expression and representation of/reflection on social reality. The three sections of a theory of consciousness in processes of change within politico economic structures and the hegemony of the state, social history and an empirical sociological study of adivasi political consciousness; articulated together result in an account of veritable epic proportions in the social sciences. While both historical analysis and empirical study generate material pertinent to the problem under study, the effort is to serve as an illustration of the application of a conceptual framework and a methodology for the study of the political consciousness and struggles of the subaltern.

The book should be useful for academics, practitioners and policy makers; for the disciplines of sociology, social psychology, political science and for students of the history of the political economy of social transformation as attempted to be seen from below.

Contents: Introduction. Part I : Class Consciousness: Theoretical and Methodological Issues. 1. Deconstructing the multidimensional sphere of consciousness. 2. The development of class consciousness. 3. Class consciousness towards a formal definition and methodological approach. 4. Class consciousness: towards a conceptual framework. Part II : The Socio-Historical Dynamics of Class Consciousness in Thane District- Dahanu and Talasari Talukas. 5. Pre-1944: the reification of adivasi experience. 6. 1944 to 1947: from reinfied alienation to antagonism. 7. 1948 to 1962: repression, reform and participation. 8. 1962 to 1980: the politics of opposition. Part III: Class Consciousness: A Critical Case Study. 9. The selection. 10. The struggle for survival: class structure and relations in Kulambi village. 11. The struggle for self-expression: class consciousness in Kulambi village, scientific categories and individual cognitions. 12. Scientific interpretation and the configuration of cognitions: individual and collective conceptions. 13. In Conclusion: Scientific generalization and the dynamics of conceptions: collective conception and class consciousness. 14. A postscript: the political economy of Thane district, 1980-2012. Map.

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About the author

Denzil Saldanha

Denzil Saldanha is Professor, Centre for Sociology of Education, Tata Institute of Social science, Mumbai. His research interests have been in the areas of social movements; voluntary social action groups and development organizations; elementary, non-formal and adult education. He has several publications to this credit in these areas. He has been teaching, researching and contributing to policy in these areas, particularly in the field of adult education, for over two decades. His involvement with higher education institutions and NGOs has opened new fields of social action and enquiry. He has served as a member of state and national level committees such as the National Literacy Mission Authority and planning sub-committees and as a consultant to government, funding agencies, bilateral and multilateral institutions. 

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Bibliographic information

Title Structure, Consciousness and Social Transformation: The Adivasis in Thane District, Maharashtra
Format Hardcover
Date published: 03.02.2015
Edition 1st. ed.
Publisher Aakar Books
Language: English
isbn 9789350023211
length xi+611p., Illustrations; 23cm.