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The Poison in the Gift : Ritual, Prestation and the Dominant Caste in a North Indian Village - Gloria Goodwin Raheja

The Poison in the Gift

Ritual, Prestation and the Dominant Caste in a North Indian Village

Paperback Published: 1st January 1988
ISBN: 9780226707297
Number Of Pages: 304

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"The Poison in the Gift" is a detailed ethnography of gift-giving in a North Indian village that powerfully demonstrates a new theoretical interpretation of caste. Introducing the concept of "ritual centrality," Raheja shows that the position of the dominant landholding caste in the village is grounded in a central-peripheral configuration of castes rather than a hierarchical ordering. She advances a view of caste as semiotically constituted of contextually shifting sets of meanings, rather than one overarching ideological feature. This new understanding undermines the controversial interpretation advanced by Louis Dumont in his 1966 book, "Homo Hierarchicus," in which he proposed a disjunction between the ideology of hierarchy based on the "purity" of the Brahman priest and the "temporal power" of the dominant caste or the king.

List of Figuresp. vii
List of Tablesp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Introduction: Toward a Redefinition of "Dominance" in North Indian Societyp. 1
The Village and the Region in Historical Perspectivep. 1
Pahansu Todayp. 14
Theoretical and Ethnographic Perspectivesp. 24
Auspiciousness and Inauspiciousness as Cultural Constructsp. 37
The Language of Auspiciousness and Inauspiciousnessp. 37
The Sources of Inauspiciousnessp. 48
Hamare Ghar Me Kles Rahe: Afflictions in the House and the Problem of Diagnosisp. 60
The Structure of Ritual Actionp. 68
The Ritual Contexts of Dan and the Ritual Construction of Gujar Centralityp. 93
The Rituals of Pregnancy, Birth, and Childhoodp. 93
Marriage and the Giving of Danp. 118
Death: Breaking "Connections" and the Giving of Giftsp. 147
Prestations at the Harvests and the Barkat of the Grainp. 162
Protecting the House and the Village: Placing the Niv and Kali Ka Bhetp. 169
Pujapa, Sandhara, and Bayana: The Transferral of Inauspiciousness in the Yearly Festival Cyclep. 172
Getting Sons, Removing Kast: Discovering Inauspiciousness and the Giving of Danp. 185
On the Appropriateness of Patrasp. 188
Prestation Types and Terminological Usages: Shifting Configurations of Castes and Kinsmen in Pahansup. 203
At the Threshing Place: Phaslanap. 204
Non-phaslana Payments for Caste-specific Goods and Servicesp. 206
Agricultural Labor Arrangementsp. 207
Payments for Ritual Services: Neg and Lagp. 212
"Signs of Brotherhood": Nyauta, Parosa, and Kothlip. 219
Gifts of the Meeting, Gifts of the Road: Milai and Wadap. 222
Prestation Types and Terminological Usagesp. 232
Mol Lana: The Ritual Uses of "Bringing for a Price"p. 235
"You Can't Look a Gift Calf in the Mouth": Another Perspective on Danp. 236
Centrality, Mutuality, and Hierarchy: Aspects of Relationships in Kinship and Castep. 239
Conclusionsp. 248
Notesp. 255
Referencesp. 271
Indexp. 279
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780226707297
ISBN-10: 0226707296
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 1st January 1988
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.0 x 15.5  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.41

Earn 104 Qantas Points
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