The Oxford in India Readings in Sociology and
Anthropology comprise a set of volumes, each on an important theme or sub-area
within these disciplines. Along with authoritative introduction and sectional
prefaces, each book brings together key essays that apprise readers of the
current debates and developments within that area, with specific reference to
India. The volumes act both as introductions to sociology and social anthropology
and as essential reference works for students, teachers and researchers.
A tenacious cliché about South Asia is that it has an immutable, irrational society
stubbornly resisting change and movement of any kind. However, the fact is that
South Asia is home to the world's largest nomadic population. In no other part of
the world are there such a variety of beings systematically herded, nor the
diversity of peripatetic professions to be matched.
Focusssing on nomadic societies in the region, this reader brings together
essays, which illustrate how large sections of rural South Asians have long been
dynamic, mobile, resilient, and rational agents. The readings cover a wide
spectrum of resource uses, and look at a variety of ecological, economic, and
political settings. They discuss three types of nomads- animal husbanders,
including gatherers and hunters, peripatetic traders and entertainers.
Treating migration as their core point of reference, the authors cover a wide
canvas of issues and approaches, from historical to contemporary ethnographic
perspectives. They further discuss what it entails to be nomadic today and the
future possibilities for such societies.
This reader is the first effort to present comprehensive information and
theoretically informed discussions on the nomadic peoples in South Asia. It will be
essential for students and researchers of social anthropology and sociology
including those studying culture change, history, and archaeology. In addition,
development activists, experts in the field of mobility, migration, and animal
husbandry will also find it useful.
About the Author:
Aparna Rao is Research Fellow at the Department
of Social Anthropology, University of Cologne.
Michael J. Casimir is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of
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