Cast of Characters

Jeffrey G. Snodgrass

in Casting Kings

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780195304343
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199785063 | DOI:
 						Cast of Characters

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This chapter further describes the context of the author’s participant-observation fieldwork situation in the towns of Udaipur and Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It also presents the scholarly understandings of South Asian society that ground the book’s arguments. It is demonstrated how changes in caste relations in the modern colonial and postcolonial periods, and especially the decline in importance of elite bardic communities, provided the author’s Bhat informants with opportunities to remake their caste identity in the particular manner explored in the pages of this book. This chapter takes pains to demonstrate continuities of experience between the formerly untouchable Bhats and other low status Dalit (“oppressed”) communities. The remainder of the book, however, points to the distinctive manner than Bhats, as low status bards participating in a declining village exchange economy referred to as jajmani, take advantage of changing historical contexts to rework themselves and the institution of caste in ways unique to this community of performers.

Keywords: participant-observation; Rajasthan; caste; colonialism; postcolonialism; bards; modernity; Dalits; Untouchables

Chapter.  15218 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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