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Poison in the Gift Ritual, Prestation, and the Dominant Caste in a North Indian Village

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ISBN-10: 0226707296

ISBN-13: 9780226707297

Edition: N/A

Authors: Gloria Goodwin Raheja

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The Poison in the Gift is a detailed ethnography of gift-giving in a North Indian village that powerfully demonstrates a new theoretical interpretation of caste. Introducing the concept of ritual centrality, Raheja shows that the position of the dominant landholding caste in the village is grounded in a central-peripheral configuration of castes rather than a hierarchical ordering. She advances a view of caste as semiotically constituted of contextually shifting sets of meanings, rather than one overarching ideological feature. This new understanding undermines the controversial interpretation advanced by Louis Dumont in his 1966 book, Homo Hierarchicus, in which he proposed a disjunction…    
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Book details

Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 9/15/1988
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 304
Size: 5.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.836
Language: English

List of Figures
List of Tables
Introduction: Toward a Redefinition of "Dominance" in North Indian Society
The Village and the Region in Historical Perspective
Pahansu Today
Theoretical and Ethnographic Perspectives
Auspiciousness and Inauspiciousness as Cultural Constructs
The Language of Auspiciousness and Inauspiciousness
The Sources of Inauspiciousness
Hamare Ghar Me Kles Rahe: Afflictions in the House and the Problem of Diagnosis
The Structure of Ritual Action
The Ritual Contexts of Dan and the Ritual Construction of Gujar Centrality
The Rituals of Pregnancy, Birth, and Childhood
Marriage and the Giving of Dan
Death: Breaking "Connections" and the Giving of Gifts
Prestations at the Harvests and the Barkat of the Grain
Protecting the House and the Village: Placing the Niv and Kali Ka Bhet
Pujapa, Sandhara, and Bayana: The Transferral of Inauspiciousness in the Yearly Festival Cycle
Getting Sons, Removing Kast: Discovering Inauspiciousness and the Giving of Dan
On the Appropriateness of Patras
Prestation Types and Terminological Usages: Shifting Configurations of Castes and Kinsmen in Pahansu
At the Threshing Place: Phaslana
Non-phaslana Payments for Caste-specific Goods and Services
Agricultural Labor Arrangements
Payments for Ritual Services: Neg and Lag
"Signs of Brotherhood": Nyauta, Parosa, and Kothli
Gifts of the Meeting, Gifts of the Road: Milai and Wada
Prestation Types and Terminological Usages
Mol Lana: The Ritual Uses of "Bringing for a Price"
"You Can't Look a Gift Calf in the Mouth": Another Perspective on Dan
Centrality, Mutuality, and Hierarchy: Aspects of Relationships in Kinship and Caste