skip to main content
Show Results with: Show Results with:

The social life of categories: affirmative action and trajectories of the indigenous

FOCAAL, 2013, Vol.65, pp.33-41 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

No full-text

View all versions
  • Title:
    The social life of categories: affirmative action and trajectories of the indigenous
  • Author: Karlsson, Bengt
  • Found In: FOCAAL, 2013, Vol.65, pp.33-41 [Peer Reviewed Journal]
  • Subjects: 21st Century ; Affirmative Action ; Race ; Indigenous Populations ; Government Policy ; Political Morality ; Meghalaya ; India ; Scheduled Tribes ; Anthropology ; Political Science
  • Language: English
  • Description: In this article I examine the ways in which the term 'indigenous peoples' is reworked in a specific South Asian context. I focus on the new, hybrid category of 'indigenous tribe' in the Indian state of Meghalaya. I argue that we can think of the indigenous tribe category as a strategic conflation of two different regimes of rights or political assertions. The first relates to the existing nation state framework for affirmative action as expressed in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, while the second relates to the emerging global framework for asserting the rights of indigenous peoples. While the benefits of asserting the status of indigenous tribes is obvious, for example, preventing other, nonindigenous tribes from owning land in the state, the long-term gains seems more doubtful. Both affirmative action programs and indigenous peoples frameworks are motivated by a moral imperative to redress historical injustices and contemporary social inequalities. To evoke them for other ends might eventually backfire. The larger point I seek to make, however, is that political categories tend to take on a life of their own, escaping their intended purposes and hence applied by people in novel and surprising ways. Reprinted by permission of FOCAAL, European Journal of Anthropology
  • Identifier: ISSN: 0920-1297 ; DOI: 10.3167/fcl.2013.650104

Searching Remote Databases, Please Wait