Towards Another Reason: Identity Politics and Ethical Worlds in South India

ISBN : 9780199466818

Ulrich Demmer
417 Pages
138 x 216 mm
Pub date
Oct 2016
Send mail

Locating the politics of ethical collective identities in postcolonial South India, this work explores the ways in which different cultural communities forge their self-understandings in terms of practical reason: with respect to ideas of what a good life truly is and how we should live ethically in practice. Drawing upon more than ten years of ethnographic fieldwork, the author discusses the ethical concepts, practices, and politics of the Adivasi community of J=enu Ku,rumba, the state of Tamil Nadu, and the recently established religious discourse of the deity Sanesvara. Values and conceptions of a good life of communities are constructed and articulated in ritual and political performances in public spaces. These rhetorical performances constitute what Foucault has called 'techniques of the self', where people imagine, debate, and shape their identities in a field of competing ethical concepts and imaginations. Analysing the acts of self-creation, hegemony, and cultural resistance in the given context, this anthropology of ethics gives us a crucial perspective in studying contemporary identity politics: that identities are constituted through both practical reason and political contestation.


List of Map, Figures, and Images
Note on Transliteration
one Persons and Performances
Two Indigenous Ethical Horizons: Jenu Kurumba Adivasi Views
Three The Healing Ritual: Rhetoric and Poiesis of Ethics
Four The Death Ritual: Rhetoric and Poiesis of Ethics
Five Tamil Modernity, the Postcolonial State, and the Good Modern Life
Six Governmentality, Adivasi Infrapolitics, and Everyday Life
Seven At Sanesvara's Shrine: Searching for a New Ethical Code
Eight Towards Another Reason
About the Author

About the author: 

Ulrich Demmer is Research Professor at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Germany.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.