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Interrogating India's ModernityDemocracy, Identity, and Citizenship$
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Surinder Jodhka

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198092070

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198092070.001.0001

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Old Differences and New Hierarchies

Old Differences and New Hierarchies

The Trouble with Tribes in Contemporary India

(p.99) 4 Old Differences and New Hierarchies
Interrogating India's Modernity

Kriti Kapila

Oxford University Press

The essay focuses on the constitutive nature of the category of ‘tribe’ in India and discusses the kinds of difficulties posed by the culture-question in relation to national society. Attending to the distinction made by Dipankar Gupta between hierarchy and difference, the essay explores the reasons for and implications of neglecting the place of heteronomous as opposed to scalar difference in our understanding of contemporary Indian sociality. Examining the discussion on tribes in the Constitutional Assembly Debates from the standpoint of hierarchy and difference, the essay addresses the reasons why the debate on the future of tribes came to be formulated as a problem of potential for modernity and therefore became hostage to the (false) binary between the assimilationists and the isolationists.

Keywords:   tribe, culture, hierarchy, difference, Dipankar Gupta, assimilation, isolation, Constitutional Assembly Debates, modernity

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