Dangerous Marginality: Rethinking Impurity and Power
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Associate Professor in Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
This book focuses on village festivals invoking the Matangi, an outcaste clan goddess in Andhra Pradesh, exploring the ambiguous category of outcaste priest and priestess whose intriguing presence appears in fleeting images in colonial archives and missological accounts. These striking personae challenge the assumptions predominant in the discourses of caste, making it apparent that the constraints in engaging with such seemingly inscrutable sites lies not only in the paucity of sources but also about the dread that comes with the loss of secure ideologies. The compelling evidence of this ritual space suggests the need to move beyond the frame of pathos that has come to define not only the past of outcastes but also their very being. Based on field data and historical sources, this book offers a framework to critically examine the ways in which outcastes shape caste culture in definitive ways even as their presence signifies a deeper tension in historical processes.