Theft of an Idol Text and Context in the Representation of Collective Violence

ISBN-10: 0691026505

ISBN-13: 9780691026503

Edition: 1997

Authors: Paul R. Brass
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Description: As collective violence erupts in many regions throughout the world, we often hear media reports that link the outbreaks to age-old ethnic or religious hostilities, thereby freeing the state, its agents, and its political elites from responsibility. Paul Brass encourages us to look more closely at the issues of violence, ethnicity, and the state by focusing on specific instances of violence in their local contexts and questioning the prevailing interpretations of them. Through five case studies of both rural and urban public violence, including police-public confrontations and Hindu-Muslim riots, Brass shows how, out of many possible interpretations applicable to these incidents, government and the media select those that support existing relations of power in state and society. Adopting different modes--narrator, detective, and social scientist--Brass treats incidents of collective violence arising initially out of common occurrences such as a drunken brawl, the rape of a girl, and the theft of an idol, and demonstrates how some incidents remain localized while others are fit into broader frameworks of meaning, thereby becoming useful for upholders of dominant ideologies. Incessant talk about violence and its implications in these circumstances contributes to its persistence rather than its reduction. Such treatment serves in fact to mask the causes of violence, displace the victims from the center of attention, and divert society's gaze from those responsible for its endemic character. Brass explains how this process ultimately implicates everyone in the perpetuation of systems of violence.

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Book details

List price: $46.00
Copyright year: 1997
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 2/6/1997
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 317
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

Crispin Bates is Professor of Modern and Contemporary South Asian History in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology and Director of the Centre for South Asiannbsp;Studies at the University of Edinburgh. He has published extensively on tribal, peasant and labour history in India and the history of Indian overseas migration. Hisnbsp;publications include Subalterns and Raj: South Asia since 1600 (2007); (with Subho Basu) Rethinking Indian Political Institutions (2005), Beyond Representation:nbsp;Constructions of Identity in Colonial and Postcolonial India (2005), and (with Alpa Shah) Savage Attack: Tribal Insurgency in India (2014). Between 2006 and 2008, henbsp;was the Principal Investigator in a major Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)-funded research project concerning the Indian Uprising, based at the Universitynbsp;of Edinburgh.Paul R Brass is Professor (Emeritus) of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. He has published numerous books andnbsp;articles on comparative and South Asian politics, ethnic politics, and collective violence. His work has been based on extensive field research in India duringnbsp;numerous visits since 1961.nbsp; He has been a University of Washington faculty member and Professor, Department of Political Science, and The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies sincenbsp;1965. He received his BA in 1958, Government, Harvard College; his MA in 1959, Political Science, University of Chicago; and his PhD in 1964, Political Science,nbsp;University of Chicago.nbsp; His teaching specializations include: comparative politics (South Asia), ethnicity and nationalism, as well as collective violence.nbsp; Prof. Brass has received Fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC, 1994-95; Faculty Research Fellowships, American Institutenbsp;of Indian Studies: 1993, 1982- 83, 1973, 1966-76; John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 1972-73; Grants for Research on South Asia, American Council ofnbsp;Learned Societies and Social Science Research Council, 1966-67, 1973-74, 1977-78, 1982-83, amongst others.nbsp; In 2008, Brass received the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Emeritus Fellowship.nbsp; In 2012, Professor Brass was awarded a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Fellowship grant for the academic year 2012-13, which allowed him to carry out further researchnbsp;in India during his stay of nine months. During that period he was affiliated with the Centre for the Study of Developing societies, Delhi.

List of Figures and Tables
Preface
List of Abbreviations
Text and Context
Background
Theft of an Idol
Rape at Daphnala
Horror Stories
Horror Stories Untold
Kala Bachcha: Portrait of a BJP Hero
Conclusion
Index
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