Anthropological Perspectives on Indian Tribes


Author: Subhadra Mitra Channa

9789352879991 | PB | pp. 308 | 2020 | Orient Blackswan

Anthropological Perspectives on Indian Tribes explore, with ethnographic examples, Indian tribes in their historical and political contexts. A book that encourages a more critical and analytical attitude in the disciplines of sociology and anthropology.

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Anthropological Perspectives on Indian Tribes provides a lucid yet critical reading on the Indian tribes in their historical and political contexts. It attempts to introduce the young reader to a view of tribes that goes beyond many of the commonly understood concepts and prejudices that are set deep in the popular idea of ‘tribe’. Through ethnographic examples and engagement with theoretical works, knowledge and theories about tribes are explored within the broad categories of kinship, religion, subsistence, law and politics. Students will learn: that definitions and concepts of ‘tribe’ are not absolute, but need to be interpreted in their historical and political contexts; how classifications such as ‘primitive’, ‘backward’ and ‘isolated’ are stereotypes, which have informed the thinking of not only citizens, but also of policymakers; and that ‘tribes’ are not relics of the past, but exist as living, contemporary social entities. This comprehensive work on Indian tribes provides a theoretical understanding of the diverse world views that govern the functioning of tribal societies. Providing insights into ground-level situations that may contribute to a better governance of tribal populations, it will encourage students of sociology and social anthropology to develop a critical and analytical attitude towards the discipline.


Subhadra Mitra Channa




Orient Blackswan





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About the Author

The author taught Anthropology at the University of Delhi. She retired from service on 31 October 2016. Her areas of interest are marginalization and identity, gender, religion and cosmology, ecology and landscapes. She was a Charles Wallace Fellow to UK (Queen’s University 2000) and a Visiting Professor to MSH, Paris (2002), Fulbright visiting lecturer to USA ( 2003)and a Visiting Professor in 2008-9 to USC, USA. She has written about fifty scholarly papers and is the author/editor of eight books. She was the President of the Indian Anthropological Association and currently is editor of the Indian Anthropologist; was Chair of the Commission on the Anthropology of Women (IUAES) and is now an elected Vice President of IUAES. She was awarded the S.C. Roy memorial gold medal by the Asiatic Society for life time contribution to cultural anthropology, Her most recent publications include, Gender in South Asia (Cambridge University press); The Inner and Outer Selves (Oxford University press) and the edited book, Life as a Dalit( ed.) (Sage Publications) and Gendering Material Culture (ed.).


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