Alf Gunvald Nilsen

Adivasis and the State

Subalternity and Citizenship in India's Bhil Heartland

Cambridge University Press 2018

New Books in AnthropologyNew Books in Critical TheoryNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books in South Asian StudiesNew Books Network January 9, 2019 Madhuri Karak

Almost a decade in the making, Adivasis and the State: Subalternity and Citizenship in India’s Bhil Heartland (Cambridge University Press, 2018) draws on collaboratively collected oral...

Almost a decade in the making, Adivasis and the State: Subalternity and Citizenship in India’s Bhil Heartland (Cambridge University Press, 2018) draws on collaboratively collected oral histories of two social movements in western Madhya Pradesh, the Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath (KMCS) and the Adivasi Mukti Sangathan (AMS). This longue-durée approach allows Alf Gunvald Nilsen to unravel the Indian state’s everyday tyranny against its adivasi citizens. The deep tentacles of caste and class power embodied as the state reach into the Bhil everyday, not tethered to single issues of “development” induced displacement or the disappearing commons, but as an all-encompassing structural violence manifested in the realities of malnutrition, agricultural debt and seasonal migration.

Alf Gunvald Nilsen is Professor of Sociology at the University of Pretoria.


Madhuri Karak holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. She tweets @madhurikarak and more of her work can be found here.

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