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Autobiography of an ArchiveA Scholar's Passage to India$
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Nicholas Dirks

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169677

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169677.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Ritual and Resistance

Ritual and Resistance

Subversion as a Social Fact

(p.109) 5 Ritual and Resistance
Autobiography of an Archive

Nicholas B. Dirks

Columbia University Press

This chapter explores everyday forms of resistance and challenges anthropological assumptions about ritual as well as historical reifications of these assumptions. In taking “ritual” as its subject, the chapter argues that too often the combination of the key terms “everyday” and “resistance” leads us to look for new arenas where resistance takes place rather than realizing that there are many old arenas also brimming with resistance. Noting that the social history of modern India has developed side by side with anthropology, the chapter insists that our old theories of either “resistance” or “the political” are not all that are at risk in this enterprise, but also the underlying presuppositions of order itself. The chapter makes its case by focusing on traditional village rituals in India that at face value have the effect of restoring social relations and upholding relations of authority both within the village and between it and the larger political unit of the kingdom or, later, state. Finally, it explains how ritual has always been a crucial site of struggle, involving both claims about authority and struggles against (and within) it.

Keywords:   resistance, ritual, social history, India, anthropology, order, social relations, authority, struggle

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