Networks of Trade, Polity and Societal Integration in Chola-Era South India, c. 875-1279
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Kenneth R Hall
Professor of History, Ball State University
This book studies transitional south Indian society during the critical Chola age, c. 875–1279, when there was notable evolution of pre-existing as well as new societal institutions. It considers issues of emic (‘local’) and etic (‘external’) agency; the origin of urban communities relative to movements of material and ideational ‘commodities’; and confrontations between alien cultures, formation of plural societies, dual loyalties, and multiple affiliations. Specifically, it highlights epigraphic sources from south Indian that document the purposeful creation of clearly defined market and temple districts adjacent to settled agricultural societies. Local inscriptional records are notable for their variety of detailed societal contracts, marketplace charters, and the coincidental approval of religious institution relationships that served the religious, political, cultural, and productive economic needs of various societal communities. These civil records are consistent with contemporary charters of Hindu temples that were foundational to invasive urbanism into previously rural societies. In sum, this book incorporates new social network literature as a means to re-examining local historical records, to better understand the variety of regional primary and secondary urban networking that was basic to early south Indian societal change.