This book is an ethnographic study of a community of leather workers (the Rabi Das), and their transformations under global capitalism. The lived experiences of the Rabi Das are embedded within the broader context of India''s economic liberalisation as well as in the local system of class and cultural relations in Bengali society. The various chapters in the book provide a detailed analysis of the changing nature of their conditions of employment, education, lifestyle and survival strategies. In her richly textured narrative Ruchira Ganguly-Scrase uncovers the process of Rabi Das cultural and economic marginalisation despite six decades of efforts towards self-improvement. This edition also has a new Preface.
This book will be of interest to readers in anthropology, comparative sociology, development studies and Asian Studies.
Ruchira Ganguly-Scrase obtained her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Melbourne. She is Professor of Anthropology, and the National Course Director for International Development Studies and Global Studies, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne. Previously she was the Coordinator of the Centre for Asia Pacific Social Transformation Studies (CAPSTRANS), University of Wollongong, Australia.
List of Maps, Tables and Figures
Preface to the Second Edition
Part I: BACKGROUND AND METHOD
2. Economic and Social Organisation of Krishnagar and Nadia District
Part II: CULTURE, COMMUNITY AND CLASS
3. A Cultural Account of the Rabi Das
4. From Chamars to Rabi Das: The Work of the Social Reformers
Part III: LABOUR FORMATION
5. The Demise of the Artisan: Changing Nature of Men’s Work
6. The Demise of Subsistence: Changing Nature of Women’s Work
7. Growing Up as Rabi Das
1. Concentration of Cottage Industries in Nadia District
2. Distribution of Shoemakers and Units in Nadia District
3. A Note on the Translation of Indian Terms
‘Ruchira Ganguly-Scrase has presented a rich ethnographic study of a backward community of leather workers known as the Rabi Das and their transformation, under the profound influence of the global capitalism based on the findings in Krishnanagar of Nadia in West Bengal…. [Her] subject of study and her presentation are excellent … ’
--- The Sunday Statesman