Fierce Gods: Inequality, Ritual, and the Politics of Dignity in a South Indian Village / Edition 1

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"In a move still unusual in anthropology, Mines examines relations of power by providing perspectives from a variety of people who are differently, and differentially, empowered.... These points are made with an extraordinary richness of ethnographic detail." —Sara Dickey

"With the publication of books of this quality the anthropological turn to practice theory announced in 1968 by Sherry Ortner comes to maturity. Intelligent, clear, humane and often gripping, this book will be of interest to readers who care about place and politics in the United States as well as those interested in South Asia."
— Anthony Carter, Deparment of Anthropology, University of Rochester

The importance of temple ritual in constituting political dominance in South India has been well documented. In this vivid and compelling study of caste and ritual in rural Tamilnadu, Diane P. Mines focuses not only on the temples of the socially powerful, but even more so on the powerful temples of the socially weak. Drawing on phenomenological and existential anthropology, she argues that the village is a heterogeneous reality made and remade by its residents through their own activity. Exploring the intersection of politics, ritual, caste, and other forms of social inequality, this ethnography presents a new view of the village and argues for its reemergence as a unit of analysis.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Religious Studies Review

"... [An] engaging text that is accessible to scholars at all levels." —Religious Studies Review

From the Publisher
"... [An] engaging text that is accessible to scholars at all levels." —Religious Studies Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253217653
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,095,774
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane P. Mines is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Appalachian State University and co-editor of Everyday Life in South Asia (IUP, 2002).

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
Pt. I Dominance in the making
2 Who is the Ur? 29
3 The ash theft 50
4 Making social distinctions 81
5 Habit, history, and Thevar dominance 101
Pt. II Remaking the village
6 Gods of Yanaimangalam 125
7 Making good at Kotai festivals 147
8 Waiting for Vellalakantan 169
9 Hindu nationalism and Dalit reform : two responses to Thevar domination 188
10 Conclusion 209
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