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UAL Research Online

Patterns of Adaptation: Interpreting Social Change Among the Rabaris of Kachchh, Gujarat, Through Their Material Culture.

Edwards, Eiluned (2005) Patterns of Adaptation: Interpreting Social Change Among the Rabaris of Kachchh, Gujarat, Through Their Material Culture. South Asian Studies, 21. pp. 53-68. ISSN 02666030

Type of Research: Article
Creators: Edwards, Eiluned

Drawing on interviews with Rabari nomads and development organisations, this article delineates the relationship between the nomadic material culture and government policies in Kachchh.

Industrialisation, pursued by successive Indian governments since 1947, has focused on manufacture and production (including agriculture). This article describes the impact on Rabaris - loss of grazing and access to water - and explores the survival strategies adopted, notably that of sedentarisation. It proceeds to interpret a secondary level of adaptation through changes evident in the community’s material culture, particularly their textiles and dress, and melds data from a diverse range of sources.

This article draws attention to the material culture of nomads - a neglected area of Anthropology. Its depth, rigour and contextual analysis brings to light the vibrant material culture of the Rabaris and sets it in a national and global context, revealing the particular impact of globalisation in a post-colonial society. While illustrating the broad sweep of Indian history since 1947, it also illuminates the micro-history of a specific people and place.

The article draws on interviews with a broad cross-section of Rabaris, reflecting the experiences of all subgroups, both genders and different age groups. Data collected in the field were allied to an analysis of state policies from 1947 onwards, a review of local interventions by development agencies, and to work in museums in India, Europe and the USA.

Official Website: http://www.basas.org.uk/journal/abstracts/v21/edwards.htm
Additional Information (Publicly available):

Eiluned Edwards

Current research

I am currently working on three projects: a book entitled Textiles and Dress of Gujarat to be published by Mapin Publishing (India) with V&A Publishing in 2010; research on the regional production of saris for an exhibition entitled Simply Sari to be held at the Textile Research Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands in 2010 for which I am writing the catalogue; and collecting oral histories among block printers and dyers of western India.

Recent research

I have recently completed a programme of research funded by the British Academy and the Laura and Luigi Dallapiccola Foundation with printers and painters in Srikalahasti and Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh, printers in Jaipur, Bagru and Sanganer in Rajasthan, and printers in Gujarat. I also carried out research with indigo farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The project has been developed in collaboration with artisans at these sites with technical input from Dr Ismail Mohammad Khatri. The material will be developed in to a book but has already been disseminated through conference papers, journal articles and other publications.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Date: 1 January 2005
Funders: Leverhulme Trust, The British Academy
Related Websites: http://www.fashion.arts.ac.uk/31499.htm
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Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2009 12:47
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2010 11:11
Item ID: 864
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/864

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