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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Rural change and anthropological knowledge in post-colonial India: A comparative 'restudy' of F.G. Bailey, Adrian C. Mayer and David F. Pocock

This project examines social and economic change in post-colonial Indian villages. The Indian village was romanticised by the colonial administration (‘the village republic’), was the cornerstone of Gandhi’s philosophy on the future of a successful India, and became key to post-colonial development planning. After the Second World War, Indian villages were intensively studied by Indian, American and British anthropologists and village studies became central to the emergence of the sociological understanding of India.

Through intensive new ethnographic fieldwork, this project will ‘restudy’ three villages originally studied independently in the early 1950s by F.G. Bailey, Adrian C. Mayer and David F. Pocock (deceased) in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat respectively. Bailey and Mayer - both now in their late 80s - will contribute their field materials and experience to the research.

The project aims to reveal the new sociological realities of rural India.

  • Who lives in villages?
  • How do villagers relate to one another?
  • What do they do?
  • How does the present situation compare with the past?
  • What has happened to the ‘caste system’, segregated gender roles, and popular religion?
  • How do the trajectories of the three villages compare?
  • In sum, what roles do villages play in the life of contemporary India?