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Contested Belonging. An Indigenous Peoples Struggle for Forest and Identity in Sub-Himalayan

Karlsson, B G LU (1997) In Lund Monographs in Social Anthropology 4.
Abstract
This dissertation deals with the modern predicament of the Rabha or Kocha people, their survival in the forest and their quest for identity. Rabhas are one of India's indigenous or tribal people, and they live in the jungle tracts where the Himalayan mountains meet the plains of Bengal. When the area came under British rule and was converted into tea gardens and reserved forests Rabhas were forced to give up their shifting cultivation and become labourers under the forest department. Today, large-scale illegal deforestation and the global interest in wildlife conservation once again jeopardize the survival of Rabhas in the forest. The study is based on a one year fieldwork, divided into four periods among the Rabhas between 1990 and 1995,... (More)
This dissertation deals with the modern predicament of the Rabha or Kocha people, their survival in the forest and their quest for identity. Rabhas are one of India's indigenous or tribal people, and they live in the jungle tracts where the Himalayan mountains meet the plains of Bengal. When the area came under British rule and was converted into tea gardens and reserved forests Rabhas were forced to give up their shifting cultivation and become labourers under the forest department. Today, large-scale illegal deforestation and the global interest in wildlife conservation once again jeopardize the survival of Rabhas in the forest. The study is based on a one year fieldwork, divided into four periods among the Rabhas between 1990 and 1995, and also on archival material from the India Office Collection in London. It is argued that the Rabhas above all respond to increased marginalisation by the assertion or construction of cultural or ethnic identity. This assertion of identity takes the form of "latent" ethnic mobilisation, a process of community formation, rather than the explicit identity politics generally dealt with by the literature on ethnicity. Rabhas ongoing conversion to Christianity and their present mode of narrating their past are examples of this process, and central to it is that the Rabha people assert their identity in opposition to the dominant Bengali community. (Less)
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author
opponent
  • Prof. G. Fox, Richard
organization
alternative title
Omtvistad Tillhörighet. Ett ursprungsfolks kamp för skog och identitet i norra Västbengalen
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Rabha, anthropology, indigenous people, forest, wildlife conservation, India, ethnic mobilisation and Christian conversion., cultural identity, Cultural anthropology, ethnology, Kulturantropologi, etnologi
in
Lund Monographs in Social Anthropology
volume
4
pages
318 pages
publisher
Department of Sociology, Lund University
defense location
Carolinasalen, Lunds universitet
defense date
1997-05-27 10:15
external identifiers
  • other:ISRN: LUSAGD/SAAN--97/1003--SE
ISSN
1101-9948
ISBN
91-89078-04-7
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
423be249-2272-41f2-b020-85e3c9e5f2b2 (old id 18297)
date added to LUP
2007-05-24 12:30:56
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:54
@phdthesis{423be249-2272-41f2-b020-85e3c9e5f2b2,
  abstract     = {This dissertation deals with the modern predicament of the Rabha or Kocha people, their survival in the forest and their quest for identity. Rabhas are one of India's indigenous or tribal people, and they live in the jungle tracts where the Himalayan mountains meet the plains of Bengal. When the area came under British rule and was converted into tea gardens and reserved forests Rabhas were forced to give up their shifting cultivation and become labourers under the forest department. Today, large-scale illegal deforestation and the global interest in wildlife conservation once again jeopardize the survival of Rabhas in the forest. The study is based on a one year fieldwork, divided into four periods among the Rabhas between 1990 and 1995, and also on archival material from the India Office Collection in London. It is argued that the Rabhas above all respond to increased marginalisation by the assertion or construction of cultural or ethnic identity. This assertion of identity takes the form of "latent" ethnic mobilisation, a process of community formation, rather than the explicit identity politics generally dealt with by the literature on ethnicity. Rabhas ongoing conversion to Christianity and their present mode of narrating their past are examples of this process, and central to it is that the Rabha people assert their identity in opposition to the dominant Bengali community.},
  author       = {Karlsson, B G},
  isbn         = {91-89078-04-7},
  issn         = {1101-9948},
  keyword      = {Rabha,anthropology,indigenous people,forest,wildlife conservation,India,ethnic mobilisation and Christian conversion.,cultural identity,Cultural anthropology,ethnology,Kulturantropologi,etnologi},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {318},
  publisher    = {Department of Sociology, Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Lund Monographs in Social Anthropology},
  title        = {Contested Belonging. An Indigenous Peoples Struggle for Forest and Identity in Sub-Himalayan},
  volume       = {4},
  year         = {1997},
}