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From 'Book-view' to 'Field-view': Social Anthropological Constructions of the Indian Village
The Indian village has often been seen as the ultimate signifier of 'authentic native life', a place where one could see or observe the 'real' India and develop an understanding of the way local people organised their social life. Though it was during the colonial period that the Indian society was first essentialised as a land of 'village republics', the later traditions of scholarship too have continued to treat village as the basic unit of the Indian society. This paper attempts a critical examination of the social anthropological studies of the Indian village that were carried out during the 1950s and 1960s. It focuses on the way village social life was constructed in these monographs and in what ways these constructions of the Indian village differed from and continued with the earlier constructions in the colonial ethnography