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Yorke, M. P. (1972) Tribal identity among the Santals 1770-1857. MPhil thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The subject of this thesis is the historical development of an Indian tribe - the Santals - through the documents that exist in Great Britain, The period taken is immediately prior to the great famine in Bengal in 1770, when British interest first expanded into the sphere of tribal affairs. It is more than a history, it is an anthropological study of the developments in social relations of an aggregate of culturally like people. Owing to the expanding British influence after the famine, economic and political relations underwent radical change. Most important was the development of a tribal identity, that finally crystalised with the creation of the Santal Parganas in 1857, as a result of the uprising of 1855. The central theme is the study of the development of tribal identity, and its process of crystalisation. This leads to a concern about the nature of the categories tribe and tribal. Other related concerns are with local politics, both tribal and colonial, the interaction of economic spheres, their barriers and conflicts. The process of mediation in political relations plays an important role, along with how this was manipulated and perceived. The Santal uprising is analysed in detail as a revitalisation movement and its concommitants of relative and absolute deprivation. The aim of this approach is to organise the material sytemically. Political, economic and cultural relations are structured into a pattern and the developments in this are analysed. Thereby the relations between a tribal people and early British colonialism is understood. The other side to this study is to look at social change as an ongoing process of historical development. This also provides an historical perspective on the numerous studies of the Santals made in the early twentieth century. As such it is an exercise in the methodological relations between the disciplines of anthropology and history.

Item Type: Theses (MPhil)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:15

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