The Fall of Gods: Memory, Kinship, and Middle Classes in South India

ISBN : 9780199469307

Ester Gallo
352 Pages
138 x 216 mm
Pub date
Jul 2017
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Interrogating the cultural roots of contemporary Malayali middle classes, especially the upper caste Nambudiri community, The Fall of Gods is based on a decade-long ethnography and historico-sociological analyses of the interconnections between colonial history, family memories, and class mobility in twentieth-century south India. It traces the transformation of normative structures of kinship networks as the community moves from colonial to neo-liberal modernity across generations. The author demonstrates how past family experiences of class and geographical mobility (or immobility) are retrieved and reshaped in the present as alternative ways of conceiving kinship, transforming the idea of collective suffering and sacrifice, and strengthening the felt necessity of territorial, caste, and religious mingling.

Rich in anthropological detail and incisive analyses, the book makes original contributions to the understanding of connection between gendered family relations and class mobility, and foregrounds the complex linkages between political history, memory, and the private domain of kinship relations in the making of Indias middle classes.


List of Figures, Graph, and Tables
Introduction: Kinship, Memory, and Indian Middle- Classes
1. Some Moments in History
2 From Gods to Human Beings: Mapping Generational Histories
3 Debts of Identity: On Written Memories and Middle-Classness
4 The Illam and Its Dispersion
5 Recalling the Beauty of Impurity
6 Family Histories, Reproduction, and Migration
7 On Irony, Brahminism, and Intergeneration
Conclusion: The Thin Elephant in a
Crowded Shed
About the Author

About the author: 

Ester Gallo is a lecturer in anthropology at the Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Trento, Italy, and Research Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS), European University Institute, Florence, Italy.

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