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  RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

MINDAS 2016 the first joint workshop
Rethinking Family and Relatedness in South Asia

 
 

Date:

Saturday, 30th July 2016. 13:00-18:00, Sunday, 31st 10:30-15:00

Venue:

National Museum of Ethnology,Osaka

Presenter:

1. Mizuho Matsuo (National Museum of Ethnology)

  ”Introduction: Rethinking relatedness features in South Asia”


2. Yumiko Tokita-Tanabe (Osaka University)

  "Relatedness Experienced in the Ritual of First Menstruation in Odisha, India"


3. Sumie Nakatani (Kagoshima University)

  "Resistance to the market?: Forms of exchange in a Rajasthan Village"


4. Noriko Katsuki (Chuo University)
  "Is a Navjote ceremony the gate of a Parsi community? How do Parsis try to maintain the quality of their community membership?"


5. Yoko Taguchi (Hitotsubashi University)
  "Connections of Individual and Dividual: Mumbai’s Civic Activism and Psychometric Testing"


Summary:

1. Mizuho Matsuo

  What are special features of social relations in South Asian society?
This workshop was held to discuss the relatedness of individuals and groups such as family, kinship, caste, and religion, and to explore their manifestations in various social contexts, especially emphasizing India. The concept of relatedness here is used to elucidate the performative and constructive relations rather than biological (therefore, natural) kinship, proposed by Janet Carsten in the new kinship study. If one divides the question described above into more detailed questions, they would be the following: How do people create and live the relatedness of family, kinship, community, caste, and wider institutions such as religious and ethnic groups? How does that relatedness give reality for people? How does this reality bring categorical identification and formation? How does it create distinction (cutting of the relatedness) in the society?
  When one speaks about the basic nature of relatedness in Indian society, studies of caste and kinship and substance-code are those which are mainly discussed. Kinship in India is regarded as inseparable from caste because of its nature as given according to birth and principles of caste endogamy. It seems certain for any Hindu person that caste and kinship lend primal social relations in associating themselves with someone or something in the first place as well as in their daily lives. Many leading studies of caste and kinship have discussed those anyway regarding either category (descent) or behaviour (marriage rule).
  The study of a substance-code is related to the issues of personhood, folk concepts of conception, and criticism against Euro-American ethnocentrism of past kinship studies in anthropology. It has been discussed by Roland Inden, Ralf Nicolas, McKim Marriot, E. Valentine Daniel, and others that substance and code in Indian society are inseparable and that they are constituted as a ‘systematic monism’. The concept of substance-code can provide an interesting perspective for consideration of how a person is regarded as related with certain social relations and groups.
  These traditional studies that explore caste and kinship and substance-code surely constitute foundational factors for producing relatedness in Indian society. However, both tend to consider relatedness rather statically and fundamentally. It is insufficient to understand relatedness in contemporary Indian society through those perspectives alone. This panel, consisting of four papers describing girls’ puberty rituals in Odisha to physiological evaluation in ‘civil society’ movements in Mumbai, discussed the lived experiences of relatedness from individuals’ perspectives in contemporary India, which faces rapid transformation of social structure itself.


2. Yumiko Tokita-Tanabe 

  This study examined how the ritual process related to first menstruation in a village in Odisha led to people constructing and reconstructing their sense of belonging and relatedness to families, extended kin, and neighbourhood groups through sharing and exchange of substances. Particular attention was devoted to the experience of a girl who has menstruated for the first time. A transformation of the body-person of the girl occurs along with changes in the social relationships in which she is embedded.
  The presentation included a description of what happens when a girl discovers that she has started menstruating. She runs back to her house, where she is confined behind closed doors for three days. She bathes in a pond on the early morning of the fourth day, accompanied by seven married women whose husbands must be living. Only women and girls are allowed to see her until she has ritually fed young children on the fourth day after her bathing. Men and boys are said to break out in fever or heat boils if they see her before that. The family and relatives of the girl are reminded to think seriously about searching for her prospective marriage partner.
  Analysis of the ritual process suggests an explanation of how the occasion of the girl’s first menstruation triggers exchange relations and interactions that transform the social relations of various kinds centring round the girl. Construction and reconstruction of relationships occur based on kinship and community ties as well as inter-caste relations. The presentation also emphasized the importance of the emergence of a community of women representing auspiciousness and fertility, whose members guide the girl during the ritual process. The community of women enables the girl to control the excessive and harmful heat of first menstruation that parallels the dangerous aspect of the goddess’s power. Consequently, the network of relationships is not limited to the human social sphere. It is also a part of the cosmological realm of the goddess.
  By way of conclusion, I posed some questions for reassessment of the idea of substance in the analyses of personhood and interpersonal relations in South Asia. Substances can be shared and exchanged by touch, but can they be characterized as transferred by seeing, hearing, or smelling? I also suggested a re-examination of how sharing of space is linked to sharing and exchange of substances.



3. Sumie Nakatani

  This study undertook reconsideration of earlier research conducted by myself in the 1990s from the perspective shared in the meeting. The agenda was a discussion of South Asian ways of connecting or assembling people. I emphasized the forms of exchange, which have not changed to date against market-oriented social change.
  In the studied village, the exchange of agricultural labour and other means of production such as land, water, seeds, and a tractor remain based on the sharecropping contract. Among marriage transactions, the most popular form is a sister exchange. It is an exchange by which two families exchange their women directly. It is regarded as an age-old system, but as demonstrated in the village, in a certain condition, the ‘traditional’ form has become more popular. In the festival, people exchange joy and satisfaction, i.e., locally called maza. To exchange maza through the annual festival is to confirm village community ties. The kind of festival that is popular in the village has changed from a traditional hierarchical one to a modern egalitarian one, but the exchange of maza remains extremely important.
  The question I raised in the presentation is that of why the forms of exchange are persistent, even though the meaning of exchange and the nature of relationships created by the exchange have changed entirely. How could the form of relationship be examined? I compared my findings for Rajasthan with the Micronesian exchange discussed by M. Strathern in her book Gender of Gift to examine the form or idea of the exchange specifically.
  Her idealism is suggestive to understand how the exchanges produce items and relations, and how the resultant relation is structured. However, the comparison between the South Asian case and Micronesian one is too challenging. It failed to capture the real picture related to a changing society. In a comment offered by a discussant, how the anthropological research of this kind could contribute to society was asked.


4. Noriko Katsuki 

  As one presenter, I described the actual status of Parsis in India as below at the MINDAS first meeting in 2016.
  The Parsis population in India has been extinguished more rapidly than expected. Nonetheless, their orthodox groups refuse to accept non-Zoroastrians who converted to Zoroastrianism in their community. Furthermore, the orthodox argues that Zoroastrianism is not a universal religion. The orthodox has become anxious that performing the Navjote ceremony confers to a convert a right to enjoy the welfare of the Parsi community. For Parsis, a Navjote ceremony is the Zoroastrianism initiation ritual. However, the Navjote was created as a tradition for children of rich Parsi merchants during the 15th century, after having parted with Iranian Zoroastrians geographically. Therefore, the Navjote is not a Zoroastrian ritual but rather a Parsi custom. In that sense, the orthodox tension is not irrelevant.
  However, when the orthodox maintains their attitude for a Navjote, they come up with a reason from the history of Zoroastrianism from Achaemenes to Sassanian. Even for the reformist who accuses the orthodox affirmation of being an anachronism, they use the same reason. Their historical perspective derives from the ancient history of Zoroastrianism and the era of the British raj. They do not devote attention to the era after the demolition of Sassanian and before the British raj. Therefore, their affirmation is irrelevant.
  From the floor, researchers and scholars posed questions related to the counterplot of Parsi population diminishment. Dr. Sugimoto, as a commentator, lent a new perspective to me about the abusiveness of a minority.

5.Yoko Taguchi

  Indian “civil society” movements, especially those involving urban middle classes, have attracted media and research attention during the last few decades. This kind of movement has been criticized as representing a new consumerist middle class selfishly claiming their own desires at the expense of poor people. The urban activists indeed uphold individual merit and apparently work for their own benefit.
  In my fieldwork in Mumbai, however, I was more intrigued by the activists’ particular interests and somewhat contradictory approach to themselves. These Mumbai activists’ core value was “integrity,” emphasizing honesty, wholeness, and undividedness. In pursuit of this ideal of individual citizenship, however, they produce the repeatedly re-appearing contradictory figure of the relationally defined dividual, created through the transaction of substance-codes. This paper presents analyses of this complex movement through an examination of two concepts of dividuality. One concept relates to the thesis of a general psychologization and technologization of contemporary society, which renders people as fragmented data. This description, however, does not fit with the narratives of Mumbai activists, who reported personal “satisfaction” as their motivation, but in partial association with the idioms of the karmic code. Here, the logic of psychologization (e.g., doing social work to gain satisfaction) and the logic of karma (having to do one’s work without being able to control its effects) both worked in support of civic duty. Therefore, to elucidate the making of citizens, the dividualization of contemporary society must be complemented with the dividual constructed through the movements of substance-codes.
  I analyzed the use of psychometric tests by Mumbai’s citizen campaign organization in selecting suitable political candidates to illustrate the paradoxical manner in which individual citizens are pursued by partial connections across different forms of dividuals. The device of psychometrics was important for evaluating citizens as independent individuals, who were uncovered through the integration of pure inner data, without consideration of their external relations such as religion, caste, or family background. This was how the dividuals of psychologization and technologization played out. However, when the test takers were actually evaluated by a psychometrics trainer in this case, their data were interpreted through the concept of unchangeable “culture” and the relations that created the person. Therefore, another kind of dividual appeared in the test results.
  The global logic of citizens is indeed important for contemporary Mumbai activism. Nevertheless, it is neither that the universal civic logic overtakes the Indian logic nor that the latter absorbs the former. Instead, new interpretations and practices are explored in the movements and connections of substances and codes.


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The 1st Regular Seminar 2011 

Date/Time

Saturday, 9th July 2011. 13:30-17:00, Sunday, 10th. 10:30-15:00

Venue

National Museum of Ethnology

Presenter

Mari MIYAMOTO (National Insutitutes for the Humanities, Research Fellow)

Buddhist Monk and Village society in the process of Democratization in Bhutan.

 

Yoko UEBA (National Museum of Ethnology, Assistant Professor)

Tactical Succession of Traditional Technology: A case study of Goddess's dyed cloth in Gujarat.

 

Shinsuke SUZUKI (National Museum of Ethnology, Visiting Researcher)

'Religion',' Ethnicity' and 'Caste' in Contemporary Sri Lanka.

 

 

MINDAS The 3rd Regular Seminar 2010 
 

Date/Time

Saturday, 12th March 2011. 13:30-17:00、Sunday, 13th. 10:30-15:00

Venue

National Museum of Ethnology

Presenter

Kyoko MATSUKAWA(Nara University, Associate Professor)

The Contemporary Development of Goan Theatre, tiatr, as a Media Combination.

 

 

Sachiyo KOMAKI(Takasaki City University of Economics, Associate Professor)

Islamic Holy Relics and Pilgrimage Tourism in India: A Case Study of the Dargah of Moinuddin Chishti, Ajmer.

 

 

Mizuho MATSUO(NIigata University of International and Information Studies, Lecturer)

The Transformation of 'Religious Industry' in a Pilgrim Site: What makes a Place as an Authentic Place for Ancestral Funeral Rites?

 

 

 

 

MINDAS The 2nd Regular Seminar 2010 

Date/Time

Saturday, 30th Octorber 2010. 13:30-18:00

Venue

National Museum of Ethnology

Presenter

Masakazu TAMORI (National Museum of Ethnology, Visiting Researcher)

Building of Gharana Identity in Modern Hindustani Music: Focusing on Connection with Caste-based Census and Anti-nautch Movement in British India.

 

Antonysamy SAGAYARAJ(Nanzan University, Associate Professor)

Dialogue between Christianity and Other Religions, Inculturation as a Policy: Past and Present.

 

研究会の様子1研究会の様子2

研究会の様子3

 

 

Report of Field Research

Duration of Research

6-14 August 2010.

Place of Research

India (Delhi and Tiruchchi city in Tamilnadu)

Researcher

Antonysamy SAGAYARAJ(Nanzan University, Associate Professor)

Theme

"Encounter of Christianity and Indian Culture: Evangelium through Inculturation" 

 

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アーシュラムの正門
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三位一体の教会の門

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ナーグの上に座るイエス
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食堂にあるインド式の“最後の晩餐”

 

 

MINDAS The 1st International Symposium "The City in South Asia" 
 

Date

18th-20th July 2010.

Venue

National Museum of Ethnology

Program of the symposium and summary of papers are here.

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Report of Field Research & International Conference

 

Duration

20th-28th June 2010.

Place

Portugal

Researcher

Kyoko MATSUKAWA(Nara University, Associate Professor)

Theme

エヴォラの
Participation in an International Conference (Heritage 2010: The 2nd International Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development) and Research on the Acceptance of Goan Food Culture in Lisbon, Portugal.

 

Heritage2010の会場となったサンタクララ修道院付属学校
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報告中の筆者
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ゴア料理(ソルポテル、ポーク・ヴィンダルー、フィッシュ・レシアド)

 

 MINDAS The 1st Regular Seminar 2010 
 

Date/Time

Saturday, 22nd May 2010. 13:30-18:00

Venue

National Museum of Ethnology

Presenter

Noriko KATSUKI (Chuo University)

Parsis as Zoroastrians in modern India : How they had been formed

 

Yoshiaki TAKEMURA (National Museum of Ethnology, Visiting Researcher)

Deterritorialized Deity Worship and its Prosperity: A Case Study of Muthappan Ritual, Kerala, South India

 

 

 
 
研究会の様子研究会の様子
 
研究会の様子 

 

International Workshop “60 years of Indian Independence: Promoting Regional and Human Security”
 

Date

3rd-4th February 2010.

Venue

Inamori Foundation Memorial Hall (Kyoto)

Presenter

Ann Gold (Syracuse University, Professor)

Antonysamy SAGAYARAJ(Nanzan University, Associate Professor)

International Workshop “Human and Environment in Contemporary India: Comparative Historical Perspective” 

Date

Sunday 13rd December 2009.

Venue

Inamori Foundation Memorial Hall (Kyoto)

Details of the workshop are here.

 

 

INDAS the 1st Internal Workshop for the Study of Contemporary India 

Date

Saturday, 5th, Sunday, 6th December 2009.

Venue

Inamori Foundation Memorial Hall (Kyoto)

Presenter

Minoru MIO (National Museum of Ethnology, Associate Professor)

Yoshio SUGIMOTO (National Museum of Ethnology, Professor)

Details of the workshop are here.

MINDAS Project 2 the 2nd Meeting 
 

Date

Monday, 9th November 2009.

Venue

National Museum of Ethnology

Presenter

Yoshio SUGIMOTO (National Museum of Ethnology, Professor)

Yoshitaka TERADA (National Museum of Ethnology, Professor)

MINDAS Project 1 the 2nd Meeting 

Date

Saturday, 7th November 2009.

Venue

National Museum of Ethnology

Presenter

Minoru MIO (National Museum of Ethnology, Associate Professor)

Yoshio SUGIMOTO (National Museum of Ethnology, Professor)

MINDAS the 1st joint meeting (Project 1 & 2)

Date

Sunday, 14th June 2009.

Venue

National Museum of Ethnology