Critical Themes in Indian Sociology brings together the writings of a number of scholars—both well established and younger, in India and in different parts of the world—on various themes that express the richness and diversity that defines sociological scholarship on India. The book reflects changes in scholarship over time and charts out new subjects and methods for the study of social life in India. Commemorating the 50 plus years since Contributions to Indian Sociology was first published, this book is a tribute to a journal that has sustained an internationally acclaimed and rigorous sociological engagement with India. Comprising a wide range of themes such as village, city, class, caste, politics, gender, sexuality, media, food and education, this book presents a concise, yet in-depth sense of a sociological view of India today.

Contemporary Intimacies

Contemporary intimacies
Perveez Mody

Intimacy is what the best ethnography was about.

—Arjun Appadurai (1997)

Introduction

In 2008, a leading Indian English language magazine conducted an 11-metro-wide survey on the sexual secrets of Indians. In popular parlance in South Asia, the English word ‘intimacy’ and the terms ‘being intimate’ or ‘having intimate relations’ are often used as pejorative euphemisms for inappropriate sexual relationships that dare not speak their name, and the survey was clearly designed to titillate and unearth the unspeakable. Interestingly, the survey made no mention of caste or religious identity, as though intimate relations are the only ones with the potential to jettison all cultural and ethno-religious constraints, the implication being that respondents act and behave as denizens of cities or ...

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