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Title: Contested Resources, History and Epistemologies: The Lived Experiences of the Indigenous Forest Villagers in North Bengal
Other Titles: SOCIAL TRENDS Peer-reviewed National Journal of the Department of Sociology of North Bengal University, Vol.10, 31st March 2023, pp. 91-109
Authors: Paul, Mrinalini
Keywords: Forest village
Issue Date: 31-Mar-2023
Publisher: University of North Bengal
Abstract: This paper argues that Adivasi and tribal studies in India have been overshadowed by methodologies and ideologies bearing heavy colonial underpinnings. In order to develop this discipline further with sound epistemological base, it is necessary to engage with methodologies of a more organic and post-colonial nature. This paper uses the Adaptation-Negotiation-Freedom (ANF) framework (Bodhi and Jojo 2019) to understand the historical and contemporary critical events in the lives of the indigenous and Adivasi communities of the forest villages of North Bengal. The ANF framework has been developed contesting the predominant Isolation-Assimilation- Integration (IAI) framework that arises from a caste society understanding and defines the “tribal” as a residual category. The larger significance of adopting such a framework, beyond academics, is that these researches and data contribute to the policy framework of the country. One of the reasons for the continuous socio-economic deprivation and cultural dispossession of the tribal communities in the country, in spite of various legal safeguards, protective legislations and constitutional provisions, can definitely be attributed to the epistemological injustice taking place. This paper is based on a qualitative ethnography which places the researcher’s descriptions, observations and the forest villagers’ experiences (mostly Rabhas and Oraons) in both the ANF and IAI framework, and finds that the former offers a relatively authentic story of the micro socio-cultural politics and narratives arising from the landscape.
ISSN: 2348-6538
Appears in Collections:Vol.10 (March 2023)

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