Shalini Randeria – India

Shalini Randeria studied sociology and Indology at the Universities of Dehli, Oxford and Heidelberg. She received her Ph.D. from the Free University of Berlin, where she has been teaching social anthropology and sociology since 1986.
She is now a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. Her research interests are in the fields of legal anthropology, anthropological demography and developmental studies. She has also carried out fieldwork in India and has been cooperating actively with grassroots movements in India and development organizations in Germany (November 2006). (text).

She says: “From Kerala (Indian Province) one can learn, that communisme looks different when made in a not communist country: the Kerala (communist) Government spends 60% of its budget for health care and school development. Result: higher school level for all, less death children, excellent health situation, better gender equality, and: the population growth is practically at the same level as in Europe. And the best: this is reached without higher taxes than in the rest of the country”, german-Swiss TV-talk, Jan. 21, 2007. (My comment: this guys are just not corrupt, but really use the monney for the people, instead of stealing it for their own caste).

Salina Rhanderia - India one.jpg

Shalini Randeria – India

See a (french) travel report from a suburb of north of Mumbai, Kandivali East, with many pictures, on my privat blog, from Dec. 09, 2006, to January 12, 2007 (pull down on the left column of the Homepage, click on December 2006 or/and on January 2007 and find the dates).

Find also a resumee of all posts on these blogs concerning slums.

She says also: “In India one part of the population has always paid the economy, the progress, the wealth. This not only in globalization times … economic progress is certain, but the redistribution happens only with difficulty … 70% of the Indians live still in rural aereas … and when changes happen (slum -aereas are reconstructed into new city-towers), the right question is: who is relocated, and for what?” german-Swiss TV-talk, Jan. 21, 2007.

She was also Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Central European University, Budapest.

Self-constitution of society and the politics of identity: Controversies about caste, Plenum – Caste as an object of the social as well as the scholarly discourse has had a varied career. In the middle of the 19th century caste had been declared the defining structural feature of Indian society. “Caste”, often understood as “system” or tightly structured order, represented what made India “other” then the west, marked it as static and traditional and forced the individual into a rigid normative frame. Caste, it was said, left no room for individual decision and obstructed the development of alternatives, as it blocked the road towards modernisation.The critique of Orientalism has affected this presumption too. Colonial policy, especially the census and certain bureaucratic acts, were seen as responsible for freezing and putting into a classificatory order what had been “fuzzy” and in motion. Arguments went to the extent to call caste a colonial construct. This re-search, as well as the research on the agitations triggered off by these colonial policies (like the movements for changes in ranking of communities), however, made clear that morphological traits of society are not immune to social pressure and political manipulation. The result was partly a switch from a structuralist view on caste to a view which sees caste as agents. Caste as category became more contextualized, being seen embedded in a complex field of meaning and power, and as an element of social negotiation. Parallel to the unfolding of the critique of caste discourse a new discourse of social criticism developed. The voices of lower status groups or castes, previously often passed over, became audible on wider scale, both in the public and the academic spheres. The history of anti-hierarchical social movements, of which lit-tle had been known earlier, was newly discovered. Free articulation of the voices of social critique was bolstered by the democratic system and its rules of “positive discrimination”, or reservation, providing public space for lower castes. Paradoxically, public enunciation of the critique of social hierarchy seems to have fostered the power of the caste factor. The varieties and changes of form of caste (and all the phenomena framed by this concept) are thus a central issue. Today, caste for certain scholars seems less an obstruction to development as such but the marker of a different modality of modernity, a modernity of different articulation. The notion of stepwise de-velopment along a preconceived line is being replaced by a notion of variations of the modern universal. Against the background of centralizing and unifying tendencies of modernity, the internal (part-)autonomy of “castes”, which run several civic and public functions themselves, is being discussed anew, as are the possibilities of individuals to deal with and negotiate group structures. (see text).51% of Indians are still analphabets, 70% of Indians have no chance to attain High School, because the Indian Gov. does nothing for the primary cycle, which is too costy for most parents. Only when a child reaches University level, study becomes strongly sustained, says Ilija Trojanow, author, interviewed together with Shalini Randeria at the german-Swiss TV-talk, Jan. 21, 2007.

And she says: “Big contradictions (in the social structure) exist, but what we see today is also a gaze given from outside (by the colonialists, before by the islam and others). This gaze was internalized, today we find ourselves partially in this way … Indian see situations belonging to a context, not generalized (exemple: what is good behavior? Answer: belongs to whom/to which situation), german-Swiss TV-talk, Jan. 21, 2007. My comment: if a behavior is belonging to a situation, a context, then human rights cannot be guaranted. Human Rights are build up on individuals having right for same treatment, same consideration, without any discrimination.

Writings:
Her text in a team-edition: Entangled Histories of Uneven Modernities: Civil Society, Caste Solidarities and Legal Pluralism in Post-Colonial India, by Shalini Randeria.

Read: CEU Gazette.

Read: Routes of modernity and formulas / profiles of civil society in India, Plenary discussion.

Read: Panel (pull down): Self-constitution of society and the politics of identity: Controversies about caste, 05.10.04, Organisation and Coordination: Martin Fuchs, Monika Wohlrab-Sahr und Shalini Randeria, Introduction and Moderation by Martin Fuchs.

Read: Knowledge, Diversity and Governance.

Read: Changing approaches to fieldwork in India in the age of globalisation, by Paolo Favero, Stockholm University, and Shalini Randeria, University of Zurich, discusssed. Long Abstract: Over the past decade India has become more connected to the global economy. This process has entailed a number of transformations. The GDP, the size of the middle classes and foreign investment in the country have grown. But so has the gap between rich and poor and between urban and rural areas, phenomena which also contribute to the growth of emigration from the country. These recent transformations have also entailed changes in how India is imagined, within the country as well as abroad. Within the country there is a contrast between the transformations that have taken place and the discourses surrounding these. In the West, the image of India is undergoing a change as well. No longer only represented as an exotic dreamland populated by barefoot beggars and wandering holy men, India has also become, in the Western imagination, a superpower in-the-making, a new frontier for technology and market opportunities and a potential competitor. What do these changes imply for how we conduct anthropological research in contemporary India? The panel will explore the new trends of fieldwork in India and enquire into how anthropologists can critically face the transformations taking place there. How can we overcome the limitations of older discourses and refocus our research while avoiding the current celebratory rhetoric? What kind of approaches would avoid reifying India according to older categories but also eschew new stereotypes? Is there a way to combine divergent issues such as caste, new sectarian movements, village structures, state institutions, Bollywood, reproductive medicine clinics, kinship studies and hi-tech call centres into a new critical framework? Which innovative methodological tools and ethnographic practices can be used for an ethnography of these fields? The panel addresses questions regarding the implication of these changes for the modalities of fieldwork and the longstanding tradition of anthropological research in India.

Her CV in german.

Gastprofessuren: Prof. Dr. Shalini Randeria ist von Oktober 2006 bis Februar 2007 vom Wissenschaftszentrum für Sozialforschung Berlin eingeladen worden, am WZB zu forschen. (full text).

Wohlstand und Weltgeltung strebt nun auch Indien an. Das einstige Kolonialreich hat sich emanzipiert und zum ökonomischen Giganten gewandelt. Dabei könnten die Gegensätze des Subkontinents nicht unterschiedlicher sein. Noch immer sind 51 Prozent der Inder Analphabeten, dennoch bringt das Land die zweitgrösste Gruppe von ausgebildeten Wissenschaftler hervor. Dabei war es nicht so lange her, da las man von Indien als dem Land der Magie und der Tausend Götter, von Chaos und Geheimnissen. Heute macht Indien mit seinem einzigartigen Wirtschaftsboom Schlagzeilen und demonstriert mit seinen Atomwaffen politisches Selbstbewusstsein. German announcement of the Swiss TV-talk with Shalini Randeria, Jan. 21, 2007.

links:

SWEDISH SOUTH ASIAN STUDIES NETWORK;

IMDb, with 3 results in german TV ‘Nachtstudio’;

Bücher im Fernsehen.

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