Hook-Swinging in South India

Ulrike Schröder

in Negotiating Rites

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199812295
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919390 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Ritual Studies Series

Hook-Swinging in South India

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This chapter deals with the Indian ritual of Hook-swinging as an example for the negotiation of ritual space in the colonial society of South India during the 19th century and after. “Ritual” is considered here as a discursive formation that provides a dynamic resource for the negotiation of social, cultural and religious forms of identity for various groups within a society. The debate about Hook-swinging and its prohibition is analyzed in two ways. First, it is asked how colonial policy determines the field of social and religious discourse about rituals. This had a massive impact on the performance and contents of the ritual as well as on the participants and the socio-religious setting of Hook-swinging. But, second, it can be shown that within this transformation the ritual itself serves as a space of subaltern agency and resistance to colonial and social suppression within the colonial society.

Keywords: hook-swinging; colonial society; south India; religious discourse; subaltern agency

Chapter.  10650 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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