The emergence of the Adivasi Gothra Maha Sabha led to a shift in Kerala's political landscape. The movement rejected the Communist rhetoric and instead framed its demands around adivasi and dalit identity. Yet, most activists in the movement had a Communist background, and building a coherent and effective political notion of adivasi (dalit) identity was complex. How and why, then, did the idea of indigenous belonging come to replace the discourse of class in subaltern struggles?
Indigenist Mobilization answers this question through detailed ethnographic research combined with theories of anthropological political economy. It explores the life histories of different generations of subaltern activists and argues that indigenism grew with the declining ability of the Communist party to continue effecting social transformation. The book demonstrates that a closer understanding of the uncertainty of working lives in contemporary Kerala explains the conditions that made indigenist visions appealing.
Indigenist Mobilization highlights those aspects of indigenous identity politics that are particular to Kerala, while also showing how indigenism in Kerala is closely connected to the cycles and shifts in global capitalism. As such, the critical theory that this book offers has important implications for debates on the rise of indigenism in other regions of the world.
This book will be of interest to students and scholars of anthropology, sociology and development studies.
Luisa Steur is Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam.
List of Figures
Part I: Introduction
Research and Activism in, on, and beyond a Capitalist
Part II: Adivasiness and Its Discontents
Chapter 1. The “Tribe” in World Time
Chapter 2. The Importance of Being Adivasi
Part III: Contention and Confl ict at the End of a Reformist Cycle
Chapter 3. Electoral Communism and Its Critics
Chapter 4. Widening Circles of Political Disidentification
Part IV: Conditioning Indigenism: The “Kerala Model” in Crisis
Chapter 5. Salaried but Subaltern: On the Vulnerability of
Chapter 6. Adivasi Labor: Of Workers without Work
Part V: Conclusion
Chapter 7. The (Dis)Placements of Class