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.
Chapter 7: Fields, Markets and Agricultural Commodities
Fields, Markets and Agricultural Commodities
Reconceiving the Grain Heap
In the literature on the economic anthropology of India, the post- harvest grain heap has given rise to a veritable mountain of ethnographic material. Generations of anthropologists have visited and revisited the threshing floor to observe and record the division of the grain heap among different members of the village community, ‘the locus classicus’ of a moneyless, redistributive transactional order widely known as the jajmani system (Vasavi 1998: 43). In numerous accounts, village exchange between high-caste landowning patrons and their service-providing clients was noted to have always been made through payments in kind and based entirely within a ‘non-market economy regulated by customary rights and privileges and ...