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Scheduling tribes

A view from inside India's ethnographic state

Townsend Middleton

Venturing into an ethnography of government anthropologists themselves, this article interrogates the bureaucratic inner workings and actual agents of today's “ethnographic state." By engaging with the civil servants who verify India's Scheduled Tribes, I explore the politics of “tribal“ recognition from the inside out. This perspective lends timely insight into the logistical, political, and epistemological difficulties integral to the functioning-and current crisis-of India's affirmative action system. Weighing the demands of “tribal“ recognition through those that arguably know them best-government anthropologists themselves- this study examines the human dimension (and dilemmas) of the Indian state and its affirmative action system for Scheduled Tribes.

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The social life of categories

Affirmative action and trajectories of the indigenous

Bengt G. Karlsson

In this article I examine the ways in which the term “indigenous peoples“ is reworked in a specific South Asian context. I focus on the new, hybrid category of “indigenous tribe“ in the Indian state of Meghalaya. I argue that we can think of the indigenous tribe category as a strategic conflation of two different regimes of rights or political assertions. The first relates to the existing nation-state framework for affirmative action as expressed in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, while the second relates to the emerging global framework for asserting the rights of indigenous peoples. While the benefits of asserting the status of indigenous tribes is obvious, for example, preventing other, nonindigenous tribes from owning land in the state, the long-term gains seems more doubtful. Both affirmative action programs and indigenous peoples frameworks are motivated by a moral imperative to redress historical injustices and contemporary social inequalities. To evoke them for other ends might eventually backfire. The larger point I seek to make, however, is that political categories tend to take on a life of their own, escaping their intended purposes and hence applied by people in novel and surprising ways.

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Beyond citizenship

Adivasi and Dalit political pathways in India

Nicolas Jaoul and Alpa Shah

Committee Report on Indian Muslims highlighted—Dalits and Adivasis have been institutionalized respectively through state categories of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for the purpose of affirmative action policies (see Shah and Shneiderman 2013

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Whose Reality Counts?

Emergent Dalitbahujan Anthropologists

Reddi Sekhara Yalamala

being reconfigured by the mobilisation of people who had historically been marginalised in economic, social and cultural life. These people are referred to in the constitution as Scheduled Tribes (ST), Scheduled Castes (SC) and Other Backward Classes

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Engaged anthropology in the time of late liberalism

Activists, anthropologists, and the state in India

Moyukh Chatterjee

Scheduled Tribe in India requires “indication of primitive traits” and “shyness of contact with the community at large”), but the people seeking the status are savvy postcolonial subjects who guide the government anthropologist to precise locations where

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“Real, practical emancipation”?

Subaltern politics and insurgent citizenship in contemporary India

Alf Gunvald Nilsen

democratic rights and about constitutional entitlements for Scheduled Tribes. What occurred in the Bhil communities of Khar gone was that the state became more familiar and more accountable to subaltern groups who were increasingly able to “engage with the

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Perverse Economies of Intimate and Personal Labour

Resuming Domestic Work in Households after the Lockdown

Pooja Satyogi

. Together with the Scheduled Castes, also called Dalits, and Scheduled Tribes, they form the majority of the Indian population. 8 In response to a Public Interest Litigation filed in Delhi, which challenged the state government's COVID-19 protocol of

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Beyond Economy and Religion

Resources and Socio-cosmic Fields in Odisha, India

Roland Hardenberg

mountain people are members of what are defined by the government as ‘scheduled tribes’ (ST) or ‘scheduled castes’ (SC). For their protection and development, certain constitutional rights have been granted to such communities. An older statistic overview

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A Dignified Meal

Negotiated Spaces in India’s School Meal Program

Sony Pellissery, Sattwick Dey Biswas, and Biju Abraham

representative of each social group and identity. We interviewed five male and five female service users from each school: three of them belonged to Scheduled Castes (SC), and two belonged to Scheduled Tribes (ST), as institutionalized by the Constitution of

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What Is Analysis?

Between Theory, Ethnography, and Method

Martin Holbraad, Sarah Green, Alberto Corsín Jiménez, Veena Das, Nurit Bird-David, Eduardo Kohn, Ghassan Hage, Laura Bear, Hannah Knox, and Bruce Kapferer

Scheduled Tribes in New Delhi. This case, which is not unusual, leads me to propose not only that analysis precedes theory and method in this field, but also that analytical language is our profession’s ‘native’ language, with some terms working as ontology